by kathleen m. krueger | photography by josh barrett of ignite images
Originally printed in HerLife Magazine in 2014
Making a statement is about great taste! That’s what “Chocolate Lisa,” owner of Chocolate Avenue USA, Inc., the maker of Truffnies, has been telling people ever since she started her venture into the gourmet chocolate arena. Of course, her real name isn’t Chocolate Lisa, but it’s what everyone calls Lisa Hemphill now. She even identifies herself as “Chocolate Lisa” when she answers the phone in this fast-growing family business.
If you’re still wondering what Truffnies actually are, then you obviously haven’t had the pleasure of tasting one yet. If you had, the texture and flavors that are unique to Truffnies would be stirring your senses into remembrance just at the thought of putting one in your mouth.
The name Truffnies comes from combining the words truffles and brownies. That is the uniqueness of Truffnies. When you eat one freshly chilled, it will have the smooth, melting texture of a chocolate truffle. Let them sit out on a plate and warm to room
temperature and the texture changes and becomes more like a rich brownie. Not just any brownie, of course, but the most decadent brownie you have ever tasted! Lisa is very particular about the ingredients used in her secret Truffnie recipes. She uses only all-natural, certified organic ingredients that she has sourced and selected herself. Each batch of Truffnies is made fresh in the company’s commercial kitchen by Lisa and her son and daughter, Max and Jacqui. The Truffnies, each and every batch, are still cut by hand. There are also no preservatives used in Truffnies, and Truffnies are now available in a gluten-free variety as well. They aren’t meant to last a long time; they are meant to be eaten and enjoyed!
Truffnies have become one of the hottest edible gift items on the market. Lisa has had to invest in new equipment and add more employees just to keep up with the demand. Part of that demand is due to the exceptional, alized packaging that Lisa offers her clients. “We’ve provided personalized Truffnies as favors for weddings and special events,” shared Lisa.
“Corporate gifting of Truffnies has also become extremely popular. We can personalize the packaging and ribbons with their corporate logo, name and signature colors.”
With the holiday season upon us, Lisa and her team of chocolatiers are working around the clock to keep up with orders for holiday parties and Truffnie gift packages being shipped all over the country. Many of those orders will include pieces of their signature Cracked Peppermint flavor, which is available only during the holiday season.
Truffnies come in more than two dozen seasonal flavors. Lisa continues to create new recipes as well, so there’s always something to look forward to in a Truffnie sampler pack. A new package option available for the holidays is the four-piece, in a clever wine bottle hanger. A gift box of four assorted Truffnies is attached to a hanger designed to fit perfectly around the neck of a wine bottle. This gift idea also hangs beautifully from gourmet water bottles or a bottle
of your favorite liquor, the perfect gift for a favorite client, a dinner host or that person on your holiday gift list who is hard to buy for.
Recently, Truffnies has made the leap into wholesale distribution, which means you can now find Truffnies in some of your favorite retail venues, as well as order directly from Chocolate
Avenue USA, Inc. Look for these delicacies in the Denver area at Abloom Florist in Highlands Ranch, Heritage Cards & Gifts and at Compleat Lifestyles | Gourmet & Gifts in Centennial. You can also find them in the gourmet gift section of the Ace Hardware in Highlands Ranch. These retailers are strong supporters of certified Colorado Proud companies like Chocolate Avenue USA, Inc. Plus, they just had to have some Truffnies for their customers.
Chocolate Lisa has been making waves in lots of ways with her sweet little treats. Chocolate Avenue USA, Inc. was a semifinalist in the Denver Chamber of Commerce success story competition. They will also have a booth in the prestigious Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco in January 2014, which has more than 17,000 in attendance annually.
Truffnies have already garnered some prestigious awards from the connoisseurs of fine chocolates, such as Best Open Class at the Colorado Chocolate Festival, Best Non-Traditional Truffle at the Winter Park Chocolate Festival and Best Traditional Filling at the Broadmoor Holiday Chocolate Festival Truffle Competition.
As much as Lisa appreciates the professional recognition for her efforts, the simple rewards mean even more to her. Having her daughter and son make the choice to work alongside her in the business is one of those rewards. “It means so much to me to have them sharing the joy of both the work and the success,” Lisa shared, with emotion in her voice.
Truffnies are chocolate gold, in more ways than one.