Droga Chocolates’ Founder Puts Her ‘Money on Honey’
An addiction to homemade rocky road candy and three years living in Italy created the winning combination for Michelle Crochet, creator of Droga Chocolates. Crochet’s love and passion for food was deepened through her time in Italy, as well as three years as a food buyer for Williams-Sonoma. Using her mother’s inspiration, Crochet creates Droga treats by combining nostalgic flavors with modern twists out of her Los Angeles-based kitchen.
Q: Can you talk further about your time in Italy, how it pertains to food, chocolate, and how you finally came to the conclusion you were going to start your own company?
A: Italy was an experience that changed my perception on food. I not only ate in great restaurants, but it was especially at my family’s table, where we were eating the simplest of foods using the simplest of ingredients, where I was amazed. I learned that the best ingredients, however simple, would produce great food.
Q: Why is it important to you to use premium, local and organic ingredients (when possible)?
A: The best ingredients always produce the best product. Getting local ingredients supports our local environment, economy, and ensures our products are being made with the freshest ingredients possible!
Q: Where did the idea to work with honey in your caramels come from and what are the benefits of using honey for you personally?
A: The best attribute of honey is the amazing flavor. While there are so many honeys right now, we are focused on the unrefined California wildflower, which has wonderful delicate floral notes to it. Whenever a batch of our honey caramel, called Put Your Money on Honey, is being made, I can’t help but smile at the scent of the wildflower honey wafting through the kitchen. I was inspired by the idea of using honey from trips to the Saturday farmer’s market at the San Francisco Ferry Building, which is where I was living at the time I developed it. One day while testing batches, I must have been on the fourth or fifth batch, a large bumblebee came floating in through my open window. He gave me quite a startle, but it was amazing that the honey must have attracted him—who knows from how far away!
Q: Can you talk more about working with honey and your partnership with Bennett’s Honey Farm?
A: Bennett’s Honey Farm harvests delicious honey and is a small operation. They are easy to work with and always available, sharing information on honey and supplying us with some of the tastiest honey I have ever had.
Q: Why wildflower honey? Plans for more flavors?
A: It’s just so rich and nuanced. Our honey caramel is our best seller, so for now we are focused on that and trying to get it to market nationwide as best we can. But in the future, definitely anything is possible, and creating a distinctly different honey caramel with a different variety could be very exciting.
Q: Any other plans for new honey-infused products in the future?
A: It’s a great ingredient, so I’ll be working with honey in products for sure. It’s a great flavor booster.
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