Linda Johnson is one busy lady. She’s the owner of the colorfully named Fat Ass Fudge and founder of the equally tasty Chocology Unlimited, based in Port Jefferson. So she oversees the making and distribution of a wide range of sweets daily and she’s opening a shop in Stony Brook this fall. But she’s taking the time to come east this summer—you can meet her and sample her goods at Dan’s Taste of Summer events including Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on May 27 in Southampton; GrillHampton on July 20 and Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company on July 21, both at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton; and at MonTaco on August 4 in Montauk.
Where are you from originally? How do memories of home continue to influence your work?
We believe anywhere we are is home. We’ve lived in Europe, San Francisco, Arizona, Maine, New York and New Jersey, so we enjoy experimenting with foods from all over the globe, and love pairing different combinations. Last week we had so much fun pairing Champagne with all different foods.
What person or what moment has inspired your career the most?
I’d love to say I’ve dreamed of becoming a chocolatier since I was a babe. I’m afraid my story is a bit more meandering than that, though. While I was pondering about what I wanted to do for the rest of forever…what surfaced for me over and over again were my love of family, travel and volunteer work. I was doing these things to some degree, but my heart was yearning for more. Could I take these desires and maximize them to create the life that I was yearning for? In 2011, I packed my daughter Madeline up in the car and we traveled cross-country to meet and interview people who inspired us. We met authors, philanthropists, and others who had made a positive impact on our lives. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do “when I grew up” but I was open and willing for something to be revealed. I love bringing joy to others. Madeline loves chocolate and so do I. Heck, doesn’t everyone? Let’s start a chocolate company. We operate Chocology just as we operate our personal lives. Our vision is RED: putting our focus on Relationships, Education and Distinct products. All of these qualities arise from the gratitude we have for our customers and vendors. While the bottom line is important, when we put our focus on giving, the bottom line takes care of itself.
Which Long Island wines are you drinking these days?
Because we do so many chocolate and wine pairings, we drink a lot of wine in our home. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Just to name a few: Raphael’s Portico, it’s got a nice, little chocolate flavor; Baiting Hollow Vineyard’s White Satin; Wölffer Estate Vineyards’ Summer in a Bottle Rosé; Macari Vineyards’ Early Wine, we love pairing it with spicy Indian dinners. Martha Clara Vineyards’ Northern Solstice—our White Chocolate Raspberry Bliss pairs well with this dry rosé. Wine and chocolate? Can it get any better than that?
What’s the most unusual combination you’ve made?
cHarissa is an award-winning Moroccan seasoning—we added some to our award-winning Fat Ass Fudge. It’s divine—chocolate with a kick!
What piece of equipment do you most celebrate?
My 3D Chocolate Printer. This chocolate printer is an amazing new addition to the Chocology team. Our products are no longer limited by technical ability. The limit of our chocolate is now bound by our creativity alone, and that’s something we are very excited to share. We can hardly wait to show off the Dan’s logo we’ve programmed.
What’s your favorite thing about Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
I love seeing people smile, and everyone LOVES chocolate! It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to work with people who are happy and enjoying themselves. People are happy when we talk chocolate and this makes me happy as well. Madeline always says, “We meet the best people!” and she’s right. We are fortunate to cross paths with people in their finest moments.
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include event entry from 5 to 8 p.m. PLUS access to the Rosé After Dark VIP After Party Presented by The Palm by Whispering Angel, from 8 to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.