This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper
North Forkers wishing to curb the desire of their sweet tooth need to look no further than Aquebogue. Enter the doors to an entire chocolate room of truffles, bon bons, gourmet desserts, barks and bars—oh my! Banana Fondue, Bourbon, Olive Oil Sea Salt, Root Beer Float, the tantalizing list of delights goes on. This isn’t a dream, it’s the North Fork Chocolate Company.
Ann Corley and Steve Amaral are the creative co-founders behind North Fork Chocolate Company. These “partners in business and life” began a recipe for success upon meeting while working for a hospitality company. Corley was the director of marketing and Amaral, an executive chef traveling the globe starting up restaurants and hotels, “had a yearning to work in chocolate.” Thus, a business venture began back in 2012 through Stony Brook University’s incubator in Calverton, with an official brick and mortar location in Aquebogue opening up in February of 2015. This yearning “blossomed quickly to a blooming business.”
Corley compares the business to the movie Chocolat, with Amaral as Johnny Depp’s character. Once comparing himself to a wine maker, Johnson & Wales graduate and James Beard nominee Amaral officially calls himself Master Chef and Chocolatier. His handcrafted proprietary Belgian blend is non-GMO and fair trade sustainable.
There are over 50 selections to choose from, but the secret is in the ingredients. Their first chocolate was a collaboration with Long Island Spirits LIV Espresso Vodka, a mochaccino truffle. The fruits and spices, and alcohol, in these adults only chocolates are obtained from local farms, cider houses, vineyards, and breweries. A legend card is included with each box of chocolate, naming the sources, such as Briermere Farms, Riverhead Ciderhouse, Long Island Spirits, and North Fork Sea Salt.
“Many times, the vineyard will ask us to make a chocolate for them,” Corley detailed. “But for many selections, when we are out and about shopping at the farms, we purchase retail off their shelf, try things out, and test the market with consumers.” Next up is their “Toffee Pop,” featuring “homemade toffee hand-coated over cloud corn then drizzled” with their signature chocolate.
More than chocolate, North Fork Chocolate Company continues its commitment to the community by incorporating a micro-store within. Inside, consumers will find other local products, aiding in a shop local mentality.
“We wanted to be able to help other new start-ups grow,” Corley explained. “It’s something that made sense to do and just fit. Our favorite part is collaborating with others and working together.”
Tomorrow, enjoy “Dip and Sip: Chocolate Fondue 101 and Wine Pairing” from 5 to 6:30 PM. On Saturdays, March 10 and 17, in connection with Long Island Winterfest, join for a Winterfest Fondue tasting, held in The Gallery at The North Fork Chocolate Company from 2 to 5 PM.
The North Fork Chocolate company is located at 740 Main Road in Aquebogue. Call 631-779-2963 or visit their website for a full list of events.