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Home sweet home business

Local finds work combining two of her loves: family and chocolate

Posted: February 19, 2009 10:53 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Chocolatier Angela Freeland adds chocolate to the top of a Raspberry Mouse Dessert Spoon Thursday, as she demonstrates one of the Dove Chocolate Discoveries creations she offers.

 
For Angela Freeland, of Valencia, transforming an occasional hobby into a successful job opportunity has proved to be a truly sweet sensation.

Freeland is only in her fourth month as an independent chocolatier with Dove Chocolate Discoveries, but she already made top seller on the company's list of over 1,000 chocolatiers across the nation in December and January.

She recently quit her job in children's retail to spend more time with her two kids at home.

But when she had the opportunity to sell chocolate in her own community, she couldn't resist.

"I have a 4-year-old with special needs and so he requires a lot of extra care. But at the same time, you have to take care of yourself, too, before you can be a good mom," Freeland said. "I'm just having fun with this and being around such positive people. It's not like work, it's not like a job."

Freeland hosts house parties, events or fundraisers where guests can sample and purchase the Dove Chocolate Discoveries creations - from chocolate martinis to crispy raspberry crepes - and can also learn to bake treats themselves with Freeland's help.

Dove Chocolate Discoveries launched nationally Feb. 2007, but it has only been in California since May, Freeland said.

Dove chocolatiers are paid on commission, but it's not just about the money, she said.

"In this economy, just because people can't go out to dinner it doesn't mean they can't enjoy dessert. A lot of people still want to entertain at home," she said. "It makes me feel good to show people how they can do things themselves. People are happy at chocolate parties. It's just a pleasant place to be."

And during hard times, "chocolate is a comfort food," she said.

Freeland attended the culinary arts program at UCLA 14 years ago but only dabbled in cooking and baking since then.

Chocolate seems to be her calling.

One of her first major sales was in December when she sold 150 gift packages, which she prepared for her husband's company. It was an ambitious endeavor that helped push her to the front of the sales list in December.

"I kind of dove in head first," she said.

As a reward for her hard work and high sales, Dove sponsored a trip to the Mars Inc. plant in Pennsylvania.

She attended a two-day chocolate school for which there is a two-year waiting list for Mars employees, she said.

"It was a huge privilege," she said. "The factory was sparkling white. We got to see (the chocolate) made from the moment a person shovels the beans into the roaster ... it does not get touched by human hands again until it is at the grocery store. What a clean process."

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