Silver Lining#1: When Chocolate and Wine Become a Community Service

Indaba–a sustainably-grown, socially-conscious wine from South Africa

When I’m in circumstances I deem, let’s say, sub-optimal, I always try to look for the silver lining. So this may be an ongoing feature of the blog as this pandemic situation plays itself out.

Last night I was supposed to have a business meeting with a friend who was going to supply some wine and chocolate to make our business a little more festive. The meeting went on, but to comply with requests to avoid physical contact as much as possible (although we are not in an actual quarantine situation, at least so far), we did it by Zoom rather than meeting face-to-face.

Being the raging extrovert that I am, not seeing my friend in person was a bit of a bummer for me. However, I wanted to keep my good vibes about the meeting anyway. So this what I did.

As hard as these coronavirus times are for everyone, they are particularly difficult for small local businesses. So if I couldn’t share wine and chocolate with my friend, I thought I would choose my own wine and chocolate that would bring me the most positive energy.

Instead of getting my usual dark chocolate bar from the grocery store, I turned to a wonderful local candy maker in downtown Cary called Chocolate Smiles. I try not to buy a lot of candy for health reasons, but their freshly-made, delicious candies are hard to resist.

Their shop is closed, but they are doing curbside pick-up along with UPS deliveries. So I ordered some dark chocolate sea salt caramels for my meeting, and my son got some dark chocolate-covered fruits, such as orange, ginger, and pineapple. We dropped by and they handed a bag to my son and we were done.

The chocolate store is close to a wonderful French bakery called Le Farm. Again, their store is closed, but they have a truck outside where you can choose some of their best breads, cookies, and other delicacies:

This picture is from their shop–the food isn’t out in the open these days for greater coronavirus protection.

Of course we stopped there and picked up something to add to our home-cooked dinner that night.

Our final stop was our local wine shop: Chatham Street Wine Market

This store is also closed to the public, but they are taking orders online for pick-up or delivery within a certain distance–or, if they don’t have what you want in their online store, you can call or email them and they will deal with your requests personally.

The thing is, usually I go to the store and ask Doug, the young man who owns the store, for his recommendations…which have always been good. However, once I perused the online offerings, I found a wine I had gotten before–Indaba (shown above). It is an eco-friendly wine made in South Africa from sustainably-grown grapes. Not only does it taste good and is healthier than the grocery-store American wines, but a portion of each sale goes towards providing South African children with better education. To quote from their website:

A portion of Indaba’s sales funds the Indaba Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides Montessori teacher training with a focus on early childhood development to support children living in vulnerable conditions in the South African Winelands. The Indaba Foundation also provides learning materials and educational infrastructure to schools established for Winelands worker’s children.

How great is that! My wine purchase, again handed to my son in a protective bag through the shop’s front door, not only supported my local community business, but contributes towards educational opportunities in South Africa. Knowing that made the wine taste even better.

I still would have preferred to hug my friend. But during these times, when we are having to adapt our usual behaviors to protect ourselves and our community, I’m trying to make choices that bring me the most joy and that I think will do the most to support others as well.

So that’s my first public silver lining! These altered times are making me more conscious about buying chocolate and wine that support my neighbors, both locally and around the world. I can forget the power my purchase choices have and just pick what is convenient. Now that I’m doing less shopping, I hope to make my shopping dollars more meaningful.

If you are in the Cary/Raleigh area, I recommend these business whole heartedly. Give yourself a treat and support these local businesses. Or if you are elsewhere, seek out some small businesses in your area that could use your monetary support during these trying times.

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