History of Roni-Sue's Chocolates, ingredient origins, product inspiration
Q What’s with the vintage looking logo?
A Our logo actually IS a vintage image, from Rhonda’s childhood. In the ‘50’s Rhonda’s mom had a women’s clothing store in South Jersey called The Charm Shoppe and when Rhonda was born her mom added a little girl’s clothing section and called it the “Roni-Sue Shoppe” after her! Before opening the chocolate shop she decided that calling it Roni-Sue’s Chocolates and using that vintage sign would be a fitting homage to her mom—and hopefully a good omen for business. So far, so good!
Q What do you mean by “simple on the outside—special on the inside”?
A We believe in spending money on the best quality ingredients we can find to put into the candy you’re going to eat—rather than on packaging that is ultimately only pretty garbage. Roni-Sue’s Chocolates are packaged simply and elegantly to showcase our uniquely flavorful products at their best and freshest—for your enjoyment. We put our money where your mouth is!
Q What about those ‘best quality ingredients’—what does that mean exactly?
A We draw inspiration from an ever changing array of ingredients, and luckily we live in NYC where almost anything you can imagine is available just a subway ride away! With a background in sociological study of the NYC Greenmarket system for a recent degree from NYU gave Rhonda a deeper appreciation for local, seasonal produce. Many of our truffles and candies benefit from the richer taste profile afforded by using fresh, local ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. Another of our favorite NYC haunts for exotic ingredients and freshly ground spices is Kalustyan’s in Murray Hill.
Q How did you get your start making and selling your chocolates?
A Rhonda first learned to make buttercrunch with her L.I. neighbor, friend and long-time chocolate partner Judy at an adult-ed class over 20 years ago. It must have been in November because she remembers making elaborate cornucopia decorations for their Thanksgiving tables after taking the class—then deciding to make buttercrunch for friends and family for the holidays. The rest is history! Over the years, Judy & Rhonda made an ever expanding repertoire of candies, coming together for an intensive 10 -14 day sugar-marathon each year, producing 400+ pounds of candy for our ever-growing lists. Though often approached by backers and food professionals alike who urged them to make our candies professionally, we never did pursue that option and both Judy & Rhonda went on to create their own rewarding careers. Fast forward to January 2007 and after several years commuting to LI from NYC to work and in anticipation of graduating from NYU in May, Rhonda decided to finally take the plunge and make chocolates professionally—full time. A serendipitous visit to the Essex Street Market in January 2007 where Rhonda met Jeffrey of Jeffrey’s Meats resulted in a two-month trial of my products at Jeffrey’s store where we sampled and sold from his space to see if local shoppers would embrace my concept. They did, and I successfully applied for a space in the Market, finally opening Roni-Sue’s Chocolates in October of 2007. Thanks Jeffrey!
Q I’ve heard that your products are “gluten-free”— what is that about?
A Although most of our candies and treats are gluten free, it is important to note that all are made in close proximity to products made with gluten & nuts. Those individuals who are highly allergic to even air-borne contamination should avoid our products. With that said, most of our “off the rack” products are celiac friendly. We take extra precautions to make our products as safe as possible for consumption by our friends with celiac disease. By dipping the few products we make that contain gluten, or come into contact with gluten at the end of the day and disposing of the remaining chocolate we do what we can to protect you from gluten cross-contamination.
QCan your products be shipped—and what about shipping to warmer climates, or during the summer months?
A Luckily we’ve done our research and are happy to provide year-round shipping with our special inflatable, insulated sleeves and ‘no sweat’ freezer packs available for shipping to warmer climates or during the summer. Where possible we ship via USPS Priority service to minimize shipping expense, while not compromising service quality and delivery time. Please check our on-line store for current shipping rates to your area.
Q Can I buy Roni-Sue’s Chocolates anywhere else?
A Currently, our most popular wholesale product is our Tea & Honey lollipops. Because our truffles need to be kept in a climate controlled case for best quality and freshness, most retail outlets prefer to carry our shelf-stable products. We make custom/proprietary tea & honey lollipops for several tea salons and cafes, brewing their own special tea blends for use in the lollipops, ensuring a product unique to them alone. But if you’re interested in wholesaling Roni-Sue products we’d love to chat about it!
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