When Mary Rountree was looking around for names for her new chocolate business, she decided to go with what everybody said when they took their first bite: "That's good chocolate."
For more than a year, Rountree, a mom of four and grandma of eight in Zebulon, has been selling her That's Good Chocolate at local farmers' markets and other events. I first met her back in December at a holiday market where I took home some of her melt-in-your-mouth toffee. She's also at the Wake Forest Farmers' Market every Saturday.
Rountree began making chocolate more than 25 years ago, bringing her famous chocolate pizzas to her kids' sports games and parties. The big circles of chocolates, shaped like a pizza, would be topped with marshmallows, peanuts and other yummy toppings.
"People would devour it," she said.
The registered nurse retired after suffering a heart attack at age 37 - nearly 20 years ago. She continues to struggle with health issues. Doctors have recommended that she avoid stress, but she also has sought ways to stay busy on days she's feeling good. Her kids are the ones who suggested she consider chocolate not just a hobby, but a business. That's Good Chocolate opened in 2014.
Rountree specializes in Belgian chocolate and makes treats such as Rocky Road clusters with marshmallows, peanuts, caramel and more; pecan toffee; and truffles. Her husband, Edward, is a big help - loading and packaging and, lucky for him, tasting.
Rountree lost her sense of smell three years ago and, as a result, can't taste anything. Edward, along with customers, help her refine recipes and create all of her delicious flavors.
"It's a we business," Rountree said, "because I can't do it all by myself."
While Rountree enjoys making the chocolate, it turns out that her interaction with customers is even more fulfilling ... especially when she watches as they taste her chocolate for the first time.
"I see the big smiles and the dimples," she said. "That's what I love the most about it. That people love it so much. They say, 'It's so good.'"
The Wake Forest Farmers' Market is open all year. Hours during the winter are 10 a.m. to noon, Saturdays. You can find it at 405 Brooks St., Wake Forest. Rountree also sells chocolate through her website. She also shares her latest creations and more on her Facebook page.
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