growing the Chocolatour brand

When I embarked on the project of writing a book about the world of fine chocolate in 2009, I had no idea that chocolate would become my life. I had no idea that one volume would turn into a series of three, that I would begin doing chocolate events around the world, and that I would become Doreen the Chocolate Queen. It’s all happened, and I’m thrilled, because I’m doing what I love to do: sharing my passion, knowledge of and enthusiasm for the world of fine/artisanal chocolate with fellow chocolate lovers and travel enthusiasts.

A lovely BMO employee helps serve the wine during the recent Chocolate & Wine Pairing event in Winnipeg.

A lovely BMO employee helps serve the wine during the recent Chocolate & Wine Pairing event in Winnipeg.

I’ve been a speaker at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival, a judge at the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival in Costa Rica, have now coordinated six chocolate dinners in the Community Classroom of McNally Robinson (we have the next dinner planned for September 19th and a larger chocolate dinner in the works), and this week, hosted my first chocolate and wine pairing event for a corporate group. It was well received, and we are already planning the next event for the fall.

I’m continuing to research volume II of Chocolatour, and next week, will be in Mexico on a long overdue return trip. I really don’t remember the last time I was in Mexico it’s been so long ago.

Hawaii Chocolatour flatsheet - itinerary

And I’ve engaged in a partnership with CAA Travel to host a Chocolatour to Hawaii in October to celebrate Hawaii Chocolate & Cocoa Month. It’s going to be an amazing trip, and will enable me to expand on the research I’ve already done for the chapter I will be writing on Hawaiian chocolate in volume II of Chocolatour.

Why is all this important? Because it’s made me realize the potential in what I am doing. My primary focus is the research and writing of the best chocolate travel books on the planet. But all the other opportunities that have come my way as a result of that are equally important and exciting. And they’ve made me realize that it’s not about selling books. That’s important to me, but not nearly as important as connecting with people and sharing my knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm for the world of fine chocolate–in whatever way best suits my audience.

In the next short while, you will see my three blogs converge into one site, that will have a tab for the writer’s lifestyle posts you find on this blog, the (chocolate) travel posts you find on diversionswithdoreen.com and the posts about the chocolate events and books at chocolatour.net.

Thanks so much for your support and enthusiasm over the past six years. I couldn’t have made it this far without you!

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

45 Responses

  1. The most important thing I read here is how this has culminated into you doing the things you love. Hats off and congratulations! It’s not always a clear path, but you’ve been a true inspiration. Chocolate on….
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…For Your Age… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Hi Jacquie and thanks for your comment.

      Yes, I think I was previously putting too much energy into trying to sell books. If people want the book they will buy it. But what I’ve learned more recently, is that people love my passion for chocolate and that they really enjoy the live events. So that’s where I’ll be focusing my energy, and will be happy as I move forward in writing the second volume of Chocolatour, but without the urgency I previously felt. It’s all good! 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  2. Jan says:

    Wow! What an inspiration you are. Follow your passion and you never know where it will lead you. Will now have a morsel of dark chocolate in your honour. Love success stories like this. Congrats to you!
    Jan recently posted…Colwood Workshop: Portable Employment to Make Money While You Travel, and Flexible Work That Fits Your LifestyleMy Profile

  3. Doreen, you definitely are on the right path in this “quest for the world’s best chocolate.” As you say, it’s not about selling books–although wouldn’t it be lovely to have a “best seller?” It’s about the people you’ve met, the places you’ve been to, and the experiences you’ve had that you’ve shared with us on this blog.
    Having had the opportunity to see you share your passion, and learn more from a chocolate maker, I am so in awe of what you do, and inspired by it.
    Keep going!

    • Thanks so much, Christine. I think you know how much I appreciate your friendship and support. 🙂

      I think I realized I was on the right path last night at the wine and chocolate pairing, when everyone really seemed to be enjoying the event. I thought to myself … this is SO great. I’m doing what I love to do, and people are loving it, too. It doesn’t get any better than that.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  4. Linda
    Twitter:
    says:

    You are a whirlwind!
    Linda recently posted…Nepal earthquake and the vanity of climbersMy Profile

  5. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    it’s really wonderful how these things are coming together for you and you are able to do what you love, You are a great example of following one’s passion and remaining open to the opportunities that come because of that.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Historic GrueneMy Profile

    • Thx so much, Donna. We’ve heard it said time and time again: Do what you love, because when you do … things will flow easier and opportunities will come to you. I’m doing that, and am finding it’s working, as I’m taking the emphasis off of trying to sell more books (which is what most authors are doing) and instead, am offering the more vibrant parts of my persona, and that involves talking and interacting with people.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  6. Beth Niebuhr
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen the Chocolate Queen, I love that! I am such a fan of working with your passion and you are a prime example of how that can work out really well. Good for you!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Use Social Media to Boost Your BusinessMy Profile

  7. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen, the Chocolate Queen . that’s a great title which suits you to a T. You have shown that you can follow your dream and earn a living. I think probably because you focus only on chocolate, in all forms. Best wishes as you keep moving forward and experiment with new ways to spread the chocolate news.
    Lenie recently posted…Duct Tape 101My Profile

  8. Thanks so much for your positive comments, Lenie, Beth, and Linda.

    Great having you stop by the blog and cheering me on. Looking forward to seeing what else 2015 will bring. Cheers to you all!
    WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  9. A.K.Andrew
    Twitter:
    says:

    You really should be proud of everything you’ve achieved Doreen, and as you say it all goes way beyond chocolate. I think its a great move to combine your sites – it makes complete sense, and people can dip in and out of the different sections much more easily. Have a great time in Mexico:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…How to Express the Golden Gate Homesick BluesMy Profile

    • Thx, Kathy. I’m really looking forward to the trip. There were a few glitches in putting the itinerary together, but I think it was all for the best, as a new very special opportunity presented itself today, that had I focused on another stream I was following, I would have missed out on. As they say … things really do happen for a reason! And yes, I’m totally thrilled that opportunities that enable me to feature my speaking and presentation skills are finding me. So much better than having to chase every lead one’s self!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  10. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    That’s great that you’ve finally decided to merge the three blogs into one. It will enable you to focus more on spreading word about the Chocolatour brand in a more concise way. It can be hard to keep up with three blogs! I’ve finally whittled mine down to just the editing and writing tip focus. At a later date, I plan to start an author focused blog, but it will be a few years. I’ve figured out what type of writer I most aim to be, but won’t put effort into starting a blog too early on like I did last time.
    Jeri recently posted…#WritingPrompt: 15-Sentence Portrait PoemMy Profile

    • Hi Jeri and thx so much for your comment.

      Yes, now that the Chocolatour activities are getting more frequent, I just can’t keep up with doing bi-weekly posts on the other 2 sites + sharing the chocolate activities on the Chocolatour site. It’s just too much for me to handle.

      So I’ve got a super designer working in collaboration with Sherryl (my super tech advisor) to build a brand new site that will wrap everything nicely into one. Good luck with your ongoing online transitions. 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…cultural highlights of WinnipegMy Profile

  11. Pat says:

    I think you have found so many outlets for yourself because of your great communication skills. You are a great speaker and writer. You get people excited about what they do or sell. You take pictures of them and have them tell their stories on how they found success, their passions, struggles, etc. You then communicate all of that to us thru your public speaking events, your blogs, etc. You have told me that you would want to be on Ellen but I think you are Ellen to a lot of the people that you interact with. They are always smiling when they have spent time with you!!

  12. Doreen, you’re such an inspiration! This is a great example of following your passion, doing it to the best of your ability, and being open to new adventures. I wish you all the best, and look forward to following along with your consolidated blog.
    Meredith recently posted…Canyon PaletteMy Profile

  13. Doreen — it warms my heart when I see someone follow her passion and it leads to all good things. You could make a nice living facilitating chocolate and wine events for corporations. As the saying goes, “life is what’s happening while you’re making other plans.” You were doing all these exciting trips and chocolate tastings while you were writing and planning your books. But now that seems to be secondary to the real purpose of your life. Best wishes!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Don’t Let Your Subscribers Change Their Email AddressesMy Profile

  14. Esther
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ah, Doreen, you certainly have inspired me. Thanks for all you do. You are amazing! *hugs*
    Esther recently posted…Weeds Make a Nice Addition to SaladsMy Profile

  15. Suzanne Boles
    Twitter:
    says:

    You have definitely set yourself up as an expert on this topic and it combines two of the most beloved things in the world – travel and chocolate! You are a shining example of the enviable” If you love what you do, it doesn’t ever feel like work. And, I’ll add, can become real passion. I’ve seen that passion bud and blossom for you. Congrats! And huge congrats to you for partnering with CAA for the upcoming trip. How exciting!

  16. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    Who would have thought a little chocolate research would lead to so many things. Always nice to hear stories of people who have been able to devote themselves to pursuing what they love.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…A Tale of Two CitiesMy Profile

  17. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    Three blogs – you must be one busy woman!

    Travel AND chocolate! Two of my favourite things.

    How amazing it must be to do what you enjoy most. You stepped out into the unknown and are now making your mark. I am still on my journey but slowly getting there.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Embracing everyday lifeMy Profile

    • Thx so much for stopping by the blog, and for your comment of encouragement, Phoenicia. Yes, having 3 separate sites has become far too much work for me and my webmaster. So … stay tuned! We will reveal a beautiful new site within the next month, where all posts will be channelled according to the visitor’s interests. I’ll post once a week, but to whichever stream there is news to share. Cheers, and good luck on your own journey.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…growing the Chocolatour brandMy Profile

  18. Tim says:

    A huge congratulations to you Doreen. We all strive to do the things we love and make a living from it. You appear to have succeeded. All the best.
    Tim recently posted…Kalahari’s New DayMy Profile

  19. You’re the devil. How come you have a post like this when I am dieting, I read it and gain weight. Thank you though for the information about the chocolate, I found it interesting.

  20. Congratulations Doreen! It is so wonderful seeing you succeed at something that you are so passionate about. Looking forward to seeing your transition and wishing you all the best in the journey!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…The Empowering Journey to Self-AcceptanceMy Profile

  21. andleeb says:

    Wow!

    It is great and you have a long plan ahead.
    I am happy for you that you are doing what you like.

    All the best for all upcoming projects and engagements.
    andleeb recently posted…Dammam : #Saudi ArabiaMy Profile

  22. Catarina says:

    Doreen, I’m delighted about your success. To me you definitely are the Queen of chocolate. Sometimes when I see someone in a supermarket que who have bought a lot of chocolate I think to myself that she would love to be in your shoes.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you know how Russian hackers accessed Obama’s email?My Profile

    • Thx Catarina and Andleeb for your recent comments. I really do feel blessed to have found a ‘job’ that I truly love. I’ll try and drop into your blogs later today. Right now, I’m in Mexico City. Visited the Chocolate Museum here and met an amazing chocolate maker, and very talented chocolatier. So much chocolate talent in every corner of the world!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…riding the Big Bus in MiamiMy Profile

  23. Dear Doreen,
    It was a pleasure meeting you in Puerto Vallarta, you are an inspiration to many people please add my name to the list.
    Mexico is a great place to find regional chocolate I will send you precise information.
    Please keep in touch and keep up the same spirit.

  24. Hi,
    Wow what a article. Really happy to read your information.

  25. What a cool niche you have developed for yourself Doreen! Chocolate seems to be one way that we women give each other a little TLC. I\’m sitting here nibbling on an Alter Ego Dark Salted Brown Butter Organic Chocolate Bar that a friend gave me as a get-well treat.
    Mary recently posted…Cocoa Cherry Energy BarsMy Profile

  26. Love the story, Doreen ,of the evolution of an idea, to a quest, to opening the doors to so many new opportunities. All blogging has this potential but you have gone the extra mile and are now reaping the rewards. From the chocolatrourist to Doreen the Chocolate Queen. Congrats.

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