Friday, October 9, 2020

Top Ten Cookie Entrepreneurs Have Virtual Chocolate Tasting with Professional Foodie Anya Zelfond

Girl Scouts who were the Top Ten Cookie Entrepreneurs from the 2020 Cookie Program season were treated to a special chocolate tasting event held virtually! The event, hosted by GSCCC, had special guest Anya Zelfond leading the chocolate tasting. 

She’s owner of Gourmet Boutique in Boston, a chocolate haven with the most chocolate per square foot you’ll find in Boston! Anya attributes her success as an entrepreneur to the passion she has for fine food and chocolate. Anya grew up in Moscow and traveled often to Europe where she would taste everything she could and brought back food gifts for friends.

A foodie for years, she became really interested in chocolate in 2000 when she discovered the differences within a branded chocolate based on when and where the cacao bean was grown. Similar to coffee beans and brewed coffee, there is a real science behind the choice of cacoa beans and the chocolate product it ends up in. During her travels, she focused on finding chocolate. Friends began to ask her for more and also asked where in Boston they could find fine chocolate – there was none. She gave up her profession as a speech therapist in pursuit of a dream. Today her shop is well-known and she ships throughout the US!


Each girl received a package from Anya – straight from her shop - which included an assortment of chocolates, informational materials and a few other goodies. Throughout the virtual event, the girls were guided in tasting – learning the difference between taste and flavor, taught how to appreciate each specific sample, given the history of chocolate and were given a look into the chocolate craft business.  

sample of chocolates
sample of chocolates

When asked about what the toughest thing was about owning her own business, she said the hours. Since she is in the food industry, every holiday is busy for her and impacts her family.


“If you are a person who likes to be your own boss and you have a vision, see it through because owning a business is so rewarding,” Anya said.


Anya also amazed the girls with some facts. Did you know that there are a wide range of unusual chocolates such as those made of camel’s milk or those infused with tea, spices, herbs and flowers?  There was one sample they tasted made with kefir and when opened changed taste over the course of time since the probiotics in yogurt break down the sugar continuously.


At the end of the session, Anya asked the girls what they did to make their cookie business a success. The girls who were a bit quiet until this point, loved sharing and reported some of their successes included wearing cookie costumes at cookie booths to keeping good relations with customers throughout the year online and always keep going forward, don’t get discouraged.


“This was a perfect event for the girls,” GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller said. “It brought two of our favorite cookie season things together, the importance of chocolate as a top flavor and building a successful business.”  


Want to hold your own chocolate tasting event and learn all about becoming a chocolate connoisseur? 

Check out this article that appeared in the Smithsonian magazine


Top Ten Cookie Entrepreneurs & Chocolate Connoisseurs!

Makiyah Murray from Troop 1320  - 5,605 boxes

Danielle Stowell from Troop 5 – 5,115  boxes

Jasmine Barbour-Bassett, IRG, 4,713 boxes

Maureen Keller, Troop 359 – 4,691 boxes

Morgan Nottingham, Troop 373, 4,659 boxes

Abigael Selkirk, Troop 235, 3,605 boxes

Lorelei Timmons, IRG, 3,138 boxes

Amiyah Snagg, Troop 40, 2,833 boxes

Alexis Vann, Troop 628, 2,804 boxes

Madison Murrell, Troop 661, 2,607 boxes