A sororal enterprise from the start, Sôcôla has always drawn on the twin talents of its two founders, Susan and Wendy Lieu.
Wendy, the older of the two, is Sôcôla’s chief Chocolatier. A pastry school graduate, Wendy began experimenting with Klutz's Cookbook for Kids at age nine and with truffles recipes at age nineteen. She holds a degree in managerial economics from UC Davis. Mostly self-taught, she finds that her thoughts wander frequently now to new truffle recipes, and she’s even begun dreaming up ganache concoctions in her sleep.
By contrast, Susan couldn’t tell the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons as a child, and her early attempts at friendship bread (referred to as the Great Salt Incident of ’95) tasted like the Dead Sea. Her talents lie outside the kitchen, as a fundraiser, activist, and saleswoman. A Harvard graduate with a degree in Social Studies, Susan feels most at home when she’s stirring up fervor in people—whether for sustainable farming methods in Vietnam, international relief for refugees in Africa, or for her and Wendy’s chocolates.
When Wendy began experimenting with chocolate recipes in 2001, she never intended for the truffles to be anything other than Christmas gifts, but her friends and family members kept asking where they could find more of them. One neighbor suggested that she try marketing and selling the chocolates, which inspired Susan to begin promoting. Weeks later, Wendy and Susan (then nineteen and sixteen years old) were featured on KSRO 1350's Pat Thurston Show. They chatted excitedly about their chocolates, took in callers, and raffled truffles, and audiences throughout Sonoma County fell in love—with the girls no less than with the truffles.
The Sôcôla dream has been alive and well ever since. What began as a summer hobby (selling truffles at Santa Rosa’s Downtown Market) is today a sustainable business. Sôcôla chocolates can be found at their first ever retail shop in the SoMa area of San Francisco -- 535 Folsom St (between 1st and 2nd Streets).