My seat at the table!

I love chocolate. I love the textures, flavors, and aromas. I love the creativity, the possibilities, and the way it makes me feel.

Chocolate does not judge. If Chocolate were throwing a party, everyone would be included, and no one would be left behind. It sees no color, gender, sexual preference, political party, weight, size, or financial status.

Chocolate is personal. Everyone who tastes it will have different experiences. Chocolate will greet you and bring a sensory experience that is uniquely yours.

Grab a cup of tea, and let me step back for a minute. I think this might help you understand where my heart is right now.

This year I threw myself into this beautiful medium. I started following people on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I signed up for classes with The International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao and had a wild experience!

We learned where cacao beans are grown, how the farmers are treated, and how the beans are fermented, dried, sorted then sent to the chocolate makers who take those beans and create magic.

We profiled chocolate bars and learned how to differentiate aromas, flavors, defects, and how to notice different acidity levels, complexity, and balance. We learned about the origins of chocolate, the large companies, the smaller companies, and who forged a path for the craft chocolate makers today.

But I felt different.

While my classmates were writing about balance, acidity, and mouthfeel, I was writing stories and poems. I began to feel and even mentioned in class that I was the class freak.

I understood the concept, I can smell an orange a mile away and taste raisin in a chocolate bar, but it wasn’t me.

When I taste chocolate, my world explodes!
I see words, stories, visions, pictures, colors, and smells. I’m overwhelmed and filled with joy, peace, and comfort because, at that point, I am opening my heart, accepting myself for who I am, and in those moments, I am being 100% authentically Amberley!

I learned so much, but with all the education I received, my greatest gift was finding myself,  refusing to apologize for it, and embracing the unique abilities that allow me to see things differently.

I bought two chocolate refrigerators and started purchasing bars from all over the world. I want to taste as many bars as I can to see what stories come out of them.

But I was a bit naïve. I wanted so badly to become a certified chocolate taster and pass these tests. I didn’t think that there might not be a place for me in this chocolate world.

What happens to those who love chocolate but don’t fit the mold?
What if you can’t comprehend the lessons taught by educational institutions?
What about those with health issues that prevent them from taking courses?

And what happens to the incredibly creative, think outside the box, unique individuals in this world who can spin webs of colors, flavors, and aromas and articulate them in a way that the Chocolate community has never seen before?

Is there room for them at the table?
Right now, no.

Society paints those of us with special abilities as different, broken, and not normal. We need to stop seeing ourselves as less than the “experts.”  

We might not be able to tell you the acidity levels, the complexity, and the balance in the chocolate, but we can tell you stories about where that Chocolate has been, how it makes us feel, how it speaks to us, and the vibrant explanations, descriptions, and definitions that will make you fall in love with chocolate again!

So I’ve been thinking.
What is an “expert?”
Who gives them the title “expert”?
I mean, everyone started somewhere, and education looks different for everybody.

But what honestly qualifies someone to decide if you’re invited to have a voice in any community?

The ”experts” have the loudest voices. They believe in themselves enough to create organizations, businesses, and schools, and they value their vision and make their dreams happen.

Some people would look at my blog and see that I am a level one certified chocolate taster. Does that make me an expert? Some might think so.

But I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, let alone what I learned in a class for four weeks, and then took a test that, by the grace of the chocolate gods, I happened to pass.

I am incredibly proud of myself for getting through the course, but I feel no more equipped now that I have that certification than I did before.

Yes, I have the knowledge, and yes, some of it is gone already. But does that make me any less valuable in this chocolate industry?

It does not.

I want a seat at this table in this beautiful medium of chocolate, not just for me but for those already there that are fighting to be heard and for those coming up that won’t get involved because they know there’s no place for them.

I am a bull in a china shop. OK, I am an emotional bull in a china shop.
If I feel unwanted, or there’s no space for me in this world, I will get angry, cry a little bit, and then I will move flipping mountains to make space for myself and others because I believe that everybody deserves to be seen, heard, and valued for who they are!

Chocolate is creative!
Chocolate never put itself in a box!
Neither should we!

I don’t need permission to be invited to this table.
I am inviting myself!
I have pulled up a chair!

The community needs more creativity. It needs people to be open and honest and share their truths, not trying to fit into a box but instead breaking out of that damn box!

Creative chocolate makers need to be seen and acknowledged for their willingness to bring chocolate to a higher level.

Chocolate educators need to be willing to share all that’s in their hearts and use their experiences to educate even if they feel pushback because there will be people in their classes that feel different and don’t fit.

Chocolate tasters need to feel free enough to release the chains, close their eyes, feel their emotions and let the chocolate speak to them.

When I was in class, I compared myself to the other students, and they compared themselves to me, and it felt like an emotional shit show of comparison between adults because we didn’t value what we brought to the class.

Stop comparing yourself!
You are enough!
You are special!
Your talents are uniquely yours!
Stop trying so hard to figure out what’s “wrong” with you and focus on what’s right!

Decide what you want to do with chocolate and stop asking permission or seeking the approval of others. This is your dream, not theirs!

Before a chocolate bar gets to you, it has passed through the loving hands of cacao farmers, and each one has a story. It is then moved to the chocolate makers who put their hearts and soul into their bars.

The chocolate has a story to tell, and it will speak to you. Chocolate is passion, love, creativity, encouragement, meditative, support, and healing for our bodies. It teaches us about ourselves, who we are, and who we want to be. Chocolate inspires, educates, and encourages.

We need to be more inclusive in this community. We need to find ways to leave a seat open for those who want it. We need to extend an olive branch. We need to value what they bring to the table. We need to encourage, embrace, and support their differences instead of ignoring the situation because we don’t know how to fix it.

The reality is I don’t need a seat at the table.
I’m going to build my own table with enough chairs for everyone.
Care to join me?

Amberley Charlotte

Photo Cred:

Chocolate Heart Story: It’s a beautiful day!

This poem is inspired by Letterpress Chocolate Kokoa Kamili Tanzania Raspberry 36% White Chocolate.

I believe if you listen, Chocolate will speak to you. You may taste amazing flavors or become overwhelmed with emotions. But if you’re ready to explore what’s in your heart, the Chocolate will always speak to you.

This is synesthesia. This is what happens when I taste chocolate. Feelings, colors, stories, and poems. This is how Chocolate speaks to me.

I’ve never been on a hike, nor would I EVER enjoy it! But through amazing chocolate bars like this one, we all have the opportunity to be transported to beautiful places. I hope you enjoy this poem, and I hope you love this bar.

It’s a beautiful day!

Walking through the fields
Berries everywhere

Lush hills
blue skies
the sun waves hello

Children playing with the dog

Sweet kisses
He loves me
He loves me not

Family hikes

Ice cream sundaes
Sweet cream
Raspberry sauce

It’s a beautiful day!

Amberley Charlotte ©5.29.2022

This poem is inspired by Letterpress Chocolate Kokoa Kamili Tanzania Raspberry 36% White Chocolate.

Chocolate Heart Story: Flying High

This poem is inspired by Letterpress Chocolates Tranquilidad 70% dark chocolate.
I did not expect this experience! This bar took me on a ride through the heavens.
What a gift to my senses and my emotions. I hope you enjoy this poem and this bar.

Flying High

Flying high above the clouds
I can see the heavens

I’m soaring on a mountain
of dark sweet chocolate cream

I feel light up here


I’m free
I’m calm
I’m peaceful

This sweet, creamy chocolate
is bathing my worries away

This is a ride
and I don’t want to get off

Amberley Charlotte ©5.29.2022
This poem is inspired by Letterpress Chocolate Tranquilidad, 70% dark chocolate

Chocolate Heart Story: He has a secret

This poem was inspired by @Solkiki Chocolate: Samphire 67 % Dark Chocolate Bar.
This one took me on an emotional roller coaster. I hope you enjoy the bar and the poem.

He has a secret

The air is salty
yet sweet

The smoke from neighboring chimneys
bring memories of happier times

The lake shimmers as the sun sets
It’s almost perfect

He has a secret
Is there someone else?

I’m scared

Hand in Hand
we walk
in silence
stopping at the gazebo

My heart pounds
Is this the end?

No, it’s just the beginning
I said yes!

Amberley Charlotte ©5.29.2022

This poem was inspired by @Solkiki Chocolate: Samphire 67 % Dark Chocolate Bar

The pandemic of loneliness: 5 ways to be kind that will cost nothing.

I have a sensitive heart. My heart literally aches for people. Sometimes, I wish it would stop.

I don’t have to know you. You don’t have to be in my inner circle, but if we’ve had any connection and I feel that you’re going through something, I need to find a way to make your life a little brighter.

I believe we have a pandemic of loneliness in this world. We feel like our hands are tied with Covid, but every one of us can do something each day to bring joy and kindness to another person.

We have enormous power!
We can choose our words, reactions, emotions, and how we present ourselves to the world.

Choosing to be 100% authentic, honoring who we are, following our dreams, being proud of our talents and accomplishments, and valuing the education we have received no matter what that looks like.

Did you get a degree from Harvard or a certificate from clown school?

Does it matter?
Because each person in this scenario is equally important, intelligent, and powerful enough to make a difference in this world.

I have a soapbox, and I stand on it often when it comes to matters of the heart. I want everyone to feel loved. I want every child to feel wanted. I want everyone in my life to know that they matter.

People are hurting, and we have an opportunity to help them heal.

Here are five ways to be kind and spread joy without spending money!

1. Check on a friend: Call them. Text or Message them on social media. People tend to hurt in silence. They don’t want to be a burden. But they might allow you in if you open the door. You could be the person they needed at that moment. Hold the umbrella in their storm. Let them know they can rely on you.

2. Be encouraging: Respond to a post on social media. When your friends/followers post something, be encouraging! They could be struggling, and your encouragement might help them go the extra mile.

3. Listen. When someone needs to talk, share, or cry. Listen. You don’t have to fix it or control it. Just listen. You might be the only person that gives them time that day.

4. Say hello to a stranger. People don’t make eye contact anymore. You walk past somebody, and they look down. Say hello!  What’s the worst that could happen? They might think you’re crazy, they might say hello, or they might walk away, but you started a conversation!

5. Pay someone a compliment. This is not hard, yet it is extremely hard. So Amberley, are you telling me to go up to anyone and pay them a compliment? Yes! Yes, I am.
Friend, or a stranger, pay them a compliment. “Nice shoes, dude.” “Love the color of your hair.” “Your dog is adorable!” I know that wasn’t a personal compliment, but dog people love it when someone compliments their dog!

Easy Peezy, right? No!

Putting ourselves out there is never easy, but these simple random acts of kindness will bring a smile to someone’s face, and make you feel wonderful in the process!


Amberley Charlotte ©2022

Photo cred: chris-curry-88-unsplash

Chocolate Heart Story: Can life really be this good?

Today I had the blessing of tasting the Solkiki Raspberry White Chocolate bar.
From the moment I placed it on my tongue, fresh sweet tangy raspberry brought joy to my heart, immediately a rush of sweet cream mixed with the raspberry, and I couldn’t get enough. I’m amazed at the flavors’ strength, boldness, and balance. I didn’t expect it.
Seriously, this bar is a mood stabilizer!

The story below is my experience tasting this bar.
Thank you Solkiki, it was an absolute pleasure!

Can life really be this good?

Sun is shining
Waves crashing
Roller skating at the beach

Picnics in the sand
Burgers, fries, and milkshakes

Friends you trust
Summer is here

Young love
She lays her head on his lap 
He can’t take his eyes off her
She takes his breath away

No airs or graces
No inhibitions
Just authentically themselves 
Content in each other’s arms
Nothing else matters

Dogs bark in the distance
Frisbees flying
The beach is alive with laughter 

This is what it’s all about
No Judgement
Everyone’s invited to the party

Can life really be this good?

Amberley Charlotte ©2022
This poem inspired my Solkiki Raspberry White Chocolate

I REFUSE to call myself BROKEN!

Brain trauma is an interesting thing.
If given the power, it can steal any last shred of confidence you may have.
The losses are hard.

You try not to identify with the label or think about the damage.
Still, the memories come rushing back, the body remembers, and for a split second, you have a choice to live in yesterday’s pain or to thrive in the curiosity of the future.

The “should have been’s” are replaced with “can it be?”
The fears silenced by screaming sounds of possibilities.
Can you hear them?
I can.

Today’s a hard day.
Studying for an exam.
Nothing’s going in.
I don’t understand it.

My heart aches.
Tears are flowing.
I REFUSE to call myself BROKEN!

Doubt will NOT destroy me!

My heart is beating.
My eyes are open.

I’m curious.
I’m dreaming.
I’m hopeful.
I’m alive.

This journey is mine.
No one’s taking this away from me.
I will keep trying.

Amberley Charlotte ©2022

Photo cred:

Chocolate Heart Story: Dear Madame Fruitcake

This post is inspired by Map Chocolates Dear Madame Fruitcake chocolate bar.

Do you ever feel like a fruitcake in the middle of a lettuce patch?

We are so busy trying to be the lettuce that if we let go and embrace our creativity, we would find that we are more fruitcake than lettuce. We can let our creativity out and see where it flows. In this case, it came from MacKenzie from Map Chocolate.

When I tasted Dear Madame Fruitcake, I found myself on a roller coaster going through a rainbow explosion of sweet, nutty, salty, spiced flavors. This bar is breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You will want to eat it all day!

There is a cool craziness to the textures. From smooth to chunky, a sweet fruity flavor enveloped my mouth, and behind it came chunks of nuts and chocolate. Do I let it melt in my mouth? If I chew it, it will be gone; I wanted more!

I felt this bar screaming, “Run and be free!”
It’s one of a kind. It’s like that cool kid in school you wanted to emulate. It teaches us to be our own person, and I think that’s what the world needs now. The chunks of flavor are unapologetically unique. The sweetness is balanced, not heightened because of the fruit, and if you are quiet enough you just might taste a hint of beer. 

Mackenzie thinks outside the wrapper. She doesn’t care if people think she’s doing something out of the norm. She values and protects her creativity. She creates masterpieces because she trusts her gut, and she’s not influenced by outside sources who don’t understand her thought process, and that’s inspiring.

I believe in the healing properties of chocolate. I believe it teaches us about ourselves. But we can also learn so much from these chocolate makers who have a vision and put so much into their creations.

With each bar being different and each chocolate maker having their own style, we are certain to be blessed with a multitude of flavors, colors, aromas, shapes, and emotions when we sample the talent that comes out of their kitchens.

Dear Madame Fruitcake has a soul, and I can feel its heartbeat!

Amberley Charlotte ©2022
This post is inspired by Map Chocolates Dear Madame Fruitcake chocolate bar.

Chocolate Heart Story: Georgie

It’s the perfect day.
Hand in hand, we sit on our favorite hill, staring at the sparkling water on the lake.

He’s my best friend.
I can tell him anything, and he never tells a soul.

We’ve traveled far and distant lands to get where we are today.
Long walks and lots of tears.

We’ve spent a lifetime together, and still, it’s not enough.

He’s so handsome in his black jacket, favorite hat, and worn-out old boots.
I’ve chosen my favorite white lace dress for this special occasion.

I think we’re ready!

Georgie, I would never have survived without you.
Thank you for giving all of yourself to me.
I hope you’re proud of me.
I will love you forever.
Are you ready?

OK, we’re done!

My first book: “The adventures of Ellie and Georgie bear”
Packaged up and sent off to the publishers!

We did it, Georgie!
We wrote your book!
Oh, I love you so much!

Amberley Charlotte ©5.16.22
This story was inspired by Neary Nogs Chocolate: Gingerbread Kinfolk 6-% Togo, Kekeli

Chocolate Heart Story: Will he kiss me?

stars are shining
at the beach
overlooking the water
Will he kiss me?

I’m shy
Those eyes!

First love

Feet in the sand

The salty air
Lemon on his lips
What a sweet kiss

Wishing on a star above
Will he be my forever love?

Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Inspired by Castronovo chocolate: white chocolate with lemon and lemon sea salt