John Spencer had never eaten a chocolate truffle, let alone made one. But he had just started a business and wanted to give Christmas gifts to the people who had helped him at the county clerk’s office. After all, that’s what all the lawyers did.
“I didn’t have enough money to buy gifts, so I decided I’d try to make chocolate truffles,” Spencer says.
He found a recipe online and passed them out to the clerks. Next time he was in the office, a man yelled, “That’s him. That’s him right there.”
“I thought, ‘What did I do?’” Spencer says. “This woman says, ‘You made the truffles. I’m a chocoholic. I’ve got to have more.’”
Spencer started making truffles at Christmas to give to family and friends. When he retired from law enforcement, he thought about selling chocolate commercially as a way to beat boredom. He consulted a French-certified chocolatier about the best flavors and practices before launching Lakewood Chocolates three years ago.
The only equipment he needed to get started was a chocolate warmer and a few molds.
“A chocolate warmer is the most critical thing,” Spencer says. “You’ve got to keep the temperature at 88 to 90 degrees. When the chocolates get out of temper, they get gray looking. There’s no telling how many hundreds of dollars I went through to get it right. Chocolate is one of the most temperamental foods you can deal with.”