Business

More room for more chocolate

Jennifer Marquiss, daughter of Janie and Greg Marquiss — owners of LaLa Land Chocolates — serves up bananas, strawberries and a cream puff covered in chocolate from the fountain, topped with whipped cream.  - Photo by Kassie Korich
Jennifer Marquiss, daughter of Janie and Greg Marquiss — owners of LaLa Land Chocolates — serves up bananas, strawberries and a cream puff covered in chocolate from the fountain, topped with whipped cream.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Upon entering LaLa Land Chocolates at Kitsap Mall, the senses come alive with the delectable sight of a flowing chocolate fountain and its sugary sweet aroma.

Having moved from a kiosk to a storefront next to Wilson’s Leather, owners Janie and Greg Marquiss are offering more irresistible choices than ever before.

Expanding to a large and roomy storefront has allowed the couple to introduce new varieties of their speciality: The chocolate truffle. With more than 25 different truffle flavors to choose from the hardest decision may be which selections to make. All truffles are handmade by Janie and at times demand surpasses supply.

“As fast as she makes them, they go,” Greg said with a smile. “There’s only one of her, but she does hire someone to top and wrap ... We’re up to 40 recipes, we just cannot make them fast enough. They’re handmade in small batches. They’re labor intensive. But we don’t want to raise prices to limit demand. We want to offer a good product at a price we can sustain.”

Lined with various sweet selections, one wall is reserved solely for truffles.

What really draws people’s attention, however, is the five-tiered fountain which keeps a steady flow of chocolate going. More than a sight for the eyes, the chocolate fountain serves a very important purpose.

Customers can choose from 16 different food items to be what Greg calls “speared and chocolatized.”

From strawberries and bananas to cherries and dried pineapples, patrons can choose from a variety of food items to be skewered and dipped in chocolate. As a sweet, finishing touch, toppings include selections such as whipped cream, graham crackers and peanuts.

“It’s a way to spoil yourself,” said Gale Johnson of Gifts by Gale who helps with various aspects of the shop from decorating to creating the gift baskets which are for sale. “It’s a good, spoiling experience.”

Beginning next week, the Marquisses will sell home-size versions of the chocolate fountain. Throughout the month, those who purchase a medium skewer will have the option to be entered into a drawing to win a free home chocolate fountain and 10 pounds of fountain chocolate.

To expand the chocolate business, the Marquisses have since sold their Port Gamble tea shop — although they do offer certain teas by the cup as well as a selection of bulk loose teas at their Kitsap Mall location.

The Port Gamble store still serves the high tea the Marquisses started and continues to sell their chocolates.

“We wanted to expand the chocolate products without negatively affecting the tea room,” Greg said. “That’s when we made the hard decision of giving up the tea room ... We started the business with chocolates. The tea grew up around it. Janie’s true love is making the chocolates.”

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