Chocolate Evolution

For love and truffles

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christy and Shannon Fox first met when they were both living in southern California. When asked what their initial attraction was, both pause for only a brief moment before answering “food.”

“I had been hosting a brunch gathering once a month,” Shannon says.  “It was a different theme each month—I think that month it was Italian. Christy was the first person there, and she brought a salad. It was an amazing salad. Immediately, it was like falling in love.”

“The feeling was mutual,” Christy says. “I told my sister I’d met the most amazing woman, but she was leaving town. My sister said ‘If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.’”

Apparently, a relationship was in the cards for the two women, and not long after Shannon departed California to start a farm on a few dozen acres in Whatcom County, Christy followed. Last summer, they were married in Bellingham at the Chrysalis Inn. To nobody’s surprise, Christy made the wedding cake.

Although both have spent a significant amount of time in the food industry—Christy has been a professional chef on and off for many of her 40 years, and Shannon, 47, has also put in many years at various food-related endeavors—neither were up for the daily rigors of opening a restaurant.

Instead, they decided they’d augment their dream of transforming their acreage into a community hub—a place where they hope to someday soon welcome others to the farm for workshops on everything from cooking courses to cob oven-building—with a small business making hand-rolled, hand-dipped truffles.

Evolve truffles was born from the talents of the years Christy and Shannon have labored in various kitchens in their lives, but after spending any amount of time with the couple—and tasting the complex, mouthwatering creations they produce in their 250-square-foot kitchen on Ohio Street—it soon becomes clear that most important ingredient in their arsenal is love.

Along with their obvious affection for one another, the duo have made it a point to spread their happiness to others. Along with sourcing nearly all of their ingredients from local purveyors, they regularly donate truffles to various charities and events, and believe that community collaboration is the key to their further success.

“One of our goals is to stay transparent and keep true to who we are,” Shannon says. “It’s working; things are happening in a serendipitous way. Our little business has grown to a medium business, and might just be a big business someday.”

For now, though, it’s mostly just Christy and Shannon laboring away in their small kitchen with occasional part-time help. 

And, since February is a month when many people turn to chocolate to show their love, the Fox family has ramped up their production schedule to ensure that everybody who needs one—or a dozen—of their bite-sized wonders has access to one.

“In January, we made about 700-800 truffles,” Christy says. “It was a slow month. This month, we’ll probably end up making about 3,000.”

Some of those thousands of truffles can be found on the counters of Evolve’s wholesale distributors, such as the Community Food Co-op, and Christy and Shannon will also be on hand for a Valentine’s Day Celebration Feb. 14-15 at Blaine’s Dakota Creek Winery.

Joining the 24 flavors they’ve already created—which include everything from an “I Love Bacon” truffle with no-nitrate candied bacon, organic cream, dark chocolate and ground vanilla beans to “Mint Meditation,” “Jolokia,” “German Twist” and more—they worked with the local purveyor of “Chia Girl” fruit spread to make a Valentine’s Day-inspired truffle. The ingredients include 85 percent Theo cacao, Chia Girl strawberry fruit spread, chardonnay sparkling wine, Twin Brook cream and sugar. Oh, and there are roasted chia seeds and dried strawberries on top.

Be warned: the taste of the “Chia Chia Bang Bang” truffles may cause those who want to give them as gifts to their sweethearts to keep them for themselves. They’re rich and sweet without being overpowering, and may ruin your tastebuds for other, lesser truffles.

“They’re fun and flirty and bite-y and spicy,” Christy says. “They’re just like Valentine’s Day—we’re just trying to translate that to chocolate.”

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