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LifestyleRestaurantsFood and Drink

Chocology in Stony Brook adapts to coronavirus pandemic

A gift basket at Chocology in Stony Brook.

A gift basket at Chocology in Stony Brook. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

It took Linda Johnson five years to find a bricks-and-mortar home for her multifaceted chocolate business. She launched Chocology in 2014 as an online store, but longed to open a retail location where she could also hold classes, demos, parties and team-building sessions. In 2019, she took over University Asian Market in the little line of shops behind Coach Realty on North Country Road in Stony Brook and, for five months, she put her plan into motion.

Then March arrived, and everything came to a halt. "It wasn’t just that I couldn’t open the store," she said, "I couldn’t get the products — supply chains were just a mess." It took Johnson until August before she could reopen and, while classes, demos and team building are on hold, retail has recommenced.

Chocology sells a wide assortment of high-end chocolate, both in bars and in boxes of confections. You’ll find such brands as Neuhaus from Belgium (not only the popular truffles but hard-to-find assortments) as well as All-American upstarts Hu, Kah Kow, Raaka, Fruition and Amore di Mona. She'll pack any combination into an attractive gift box, or work with you to create custom-made party favors.

The year after Johnson launched Chocology, she acquired a Hamptons-based fudge company that had appeared on Shark Tank in 2012 (no deal). The fudge company’s founder, Donna McCue, wanted out of the food business and Johnson had fallen hard for the "decadent" fudge which is made with Belgian chocolate, goat’s milk and goat’s butter. "Goat’s milk has less lactose than cow’s milk," she said, "and it’s easier for many people with dairy issues to digest."

Fudge, Johnson concedes, gets very little respect in the world of chocolate. Most fudge billed as homemade on the premises has, in fact, been made from a mix — very possibly from Amityville’s own Calico Cottage, one of the country’s leading producers of fudge mix. At Chocology, Johnson goes through the hourslong process of stirring and simmering before pouring the molten mixture into pans.

The result, she says, is miles away from what she calls "boardwalk fudge" and she advises customers to savor the difference. "Don’t chew, don’t swallow, let the fudge slowly melt on your tongue," is her mantra.

Johnson has sold fudge at farmers markets for years and was a stalwart presence at the seasonal Three Village Farmers Market, held about a mile away from the shop at the Three Village Historical Society. Eventually she was asked to run the market. During the pandemic, she developed a website that allowed the shopping to move online. Housebound customers can request home delivery; other customers can pick up their orders at Chocology. While the traditional farmers market will wrap up in the beginning of October, she is going to try to keep the online market going through Thanksgiving.

Johnson has used that same ingenuity to develop online tastings and other events. Check the Facebook page for updates.

Chocology is at 1099 N. Country Rd., Stony Brook, 631-901-7151, chocologyunlimited.com.