Spotlight: SRSLY Chocolate
If you've had a chocolate-based ice cream from us in the last year, then you've tasted the genius of Austin-based SRSLY Chocolate. We can't get enough of their stone-ground chocolate, and have some serious respect for their bean-to-bar operation.
Started in 2012, SRSLY's beginnings go back to when Bob Williamson and his wife, Robin Simoneaux-Williamson, lived in Tallahassee, Florida. Always interested in food processes, Bob's love for the fairly arduous task of chocolate-making started when he decided to make his own for chocolate croissants. Desiring a supportive group and community for craft chocolate-making, the couple moved to Robin's previous home of Austin, TX in 2014.
Since their move to Austin, SRSLY has continued evolving into the delectable business it is today. Although their products were once fair-trade certified, Bob has learned through research and farm visits that the standards of Fair Trade Certification are not as stringent as he likes and has opted instead to create direct-trade partnerships with farms in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Guatemala
"We have a much deeper selection of chocolate," Bob said. "We get transparency reports, so they're either organic, going toward organic, or they're wild-harvested from the forest."
SRSLY has expanded its offerings from four single-origin varieties to 15 flavors, including sweet and salty Sal De Ray made with salt harvested by Bob himself from the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Buck's Milk Chocolate, a nibbler made of just cacao, cane sugar, and milk, is named after the couple's beloved dog, with proceeds forever going to Buck's original rescuers, the Austin Humane Society.
We've also had a lot of fun collaborating on flavors, such as the Lick-exclusive white chocolate nibbler with salted Texas peanuts and a dark chocolate nibbler with cardamom, cinnamon, and Texas pecans. SRSLY's chocolate flavors has expanded to become of mix of playful and, well, serious. SRSLY.
SRSLY Chocolate has been Lick's exclusive chocolate supplier for over a year now, and it's been a wonderful partnership both as a business and a product. If you're wondering how SRSLY Chocolate doesn't get waxy when incorporated into Lick's ice cream, Bob says it's easy: it's a matter of the simplicity of the chocolate, the quality of the ice cream, and the craft that goes into combining the two.
"Lick uses a 72% dark chocolate from us. It's cacao and cane sugar and that's it. So it melts and blends really well," Bob said.
Although their operation is still contained within a 600-square-foot factory just north of Leander, they've doubled in size from the husband and wife duo to having two employees! As their biggest account, we're happy to be helping another business grow and flourish.
"It shows [Lick's] commitment to using really amazing ingredients and really sticking with local," Bob said. "I feel like some people will pay lip service to that and put a lot of marketing into that but not following through. It's great to work with, and it dovetails well with our vision."
When you talk to someone about a passion in their life, you generally don't need to have a shred of knowledge about the subject to find what they have to say interesting. Now imagine having a conversation about something as widely beloved as chocolate with a chocolate-maker -- someon