Warning: Product may cause euphoria!

Chocolate maker makes it to the larger markets with hot chocolate mix

It is called the “Food of the Gods” and it has been around for at least three millennia. It is savoured and lusted after and the ancient Maya and Aztecs used it in their religious ceremonies. It is chocolate — pure, rich, dark nectar from the once wild South American Theobroma cacao tree.

While some may say it is not addictive, there are others who would disagree. It is addictive because of its taste and there are few among us who dislike it.

Don Moloney discovered his love for chocolate about 10 years ago when he, and his partner Sandy Reber, went  to a chocolate festival in Victoria. He was tempted and treated to the best chocolate available and it has ruined him for anything less.

“It totally ruined us, we got into good chocolate and I couldn’t eat a chocolate bar again,” said Moloney.

Friends of Moloney know that he has always treated them to chocolate treats whenever they visit. He considers his chocolate passion to be a very expensive hobby. He makes truffles and Monkey Tails (chocolate-covered bananas) and hot chocolate powder for drinks. He even smells like chocolate.

“It’s the best cologne ever,” he said with a laugh.

He is just a bit obsessive, but only in the best sense of the word. For the past five or six years he has been seeking the best fair trade/organic chocolate  — 70 per cent cacao with no sugars, starches, oils or added ingredients. Then he set about to create a lactose, sugar and gluten free hot chocolate powder. He combined pure chocolate from France with a little cinnamon and cayenne and he came up with a winner.

I was trying to find the best combination,” he said, “I finally came up with this one and as far as I’m concerned this one is the best chocolate I’ve ever had. It’s a dark hot chocolate.”

He melts chocolate nibs slowly and tempers the chocolate on marble. He treats it with respect and he understands the subtleties of working with this product.

Moloney doesn’t alter his chocolate experience with milk, he uses water. He said the Aztecs never used milk or sugar in their chocolate beverages.

“You can add any sweetener you want and diabetics can use it.”

Looking at the back of the package, one sees a whole bunch of ingredients missing, like sugar, oil, powdered corn syrup, powdered skim milk, etc. which is usually present in commercial hot chocolate mixes.

“The main ingredient should be good quality chocolate. In some, the main ingredient is sugar,” Moloney said.

He started out by offering his River Road Specialty Chocolates Dark Hot Chocolate for sale at Little Vienna Bakery and now he has it at the Village Food Market and Western Foods in Sooke; and  Bill’s Feeds in East Sooke. Save On Foods has taken some and other stores have shown interest. He has even started a Facebook page for River Road Specialty Chocolates.

That’s not the end of the story of Don Moloney. He is a special effects artist who does make-up for simulated crashes for fire departments and airports, as well as for theatre and film. Then when he isn’t doing that he works in “the patch” as a heavy equipment operator, works with sheet metal and grows hundreds of roses in his garden. Currently he is working on producing the Girl Guide Rose. And if he isn’t busy enough, he is one of the section heads at the Sooke Fall Fair.

Maybe it’s the  euphoria?