VA Made: Virginia Chocolate Company

Who says chocolate has to be sweet. Tim Douglas bends the norm by blending flavors into his Virginia made sweets.

By Stefanie Gans

Virginia Chocolate Company Habanero Chocolate Bar
Photo by Mike Ramm.


Virginia Chocolate Company Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate
Photo by Mike Ramm.

Gist: Chocolates (40 flavors), truffles (400 flavors), jellies, brittles, barks and fudges handmade in Stafford

Who: Former paralegal Tim Douglas, 42, opened Virginia Chocolate Company ten years ago.

Started: “I hate to admit it, but I was really good at my job,” says Douglas at his time at the (now defunct) debt-collecting firm Mann Bracken, where he helped sue 40,000 Virginians in one year alone. After almost a decade there, he quit right before Christmas. Needing money for presents, he sold hand-dipped truffles, a skill he picked up from a French chef at his foster mother’s restaurant Le Petit Chef in Vermont, more than 25 years before.

Inspiration: When a customer requested a rose-flavored truffle, Douglas thought it was too floral: “It was like getting my mouth washed out with soap.” He remedied the garden-overload by resurrecting the scented memories of his two months living in India, mixing cardamom with rose oil.

Details: Labeled “Very Hot!,” the Spicy Habanero milk chocolate bar uses chilies from the Falls Church Farmers Market, cream from a small farm in Pennsylvania and for extra heat, the notoriously capsaicin-concentrated ghost pepper. “I’m a little sadistic with that one,” says Douglas.

Next: Expanding into a bigger facility, opening kiosks in local malls (Springfield, Fair Oaks, Tysons) and offering calico (combining milk, dark and white chocolate) Easter bunnies.

(April 2014)