An elegant fun fest of fudge-filled gourmet dark chocolate, Cocopotamus truffles are primed to delight the taste buds with flavors of the world.
“Razzmanian Devil” is infused with black raspberry and raspberry brandy, and “Godfather” with Italian espresso, almond and rum. With a nod to New Mexico, “Hottie” turns the blend of Mexican cinnamon and hot chile into a whole new, piquant taste experience.
An Albuquerque-based company, Cocopotamus is the creation of Ally and Max Sinclair, who wanted to put the fun back into fudge. “Max always says we each have a half-baked idea,” Ally said with a big smile during a recent interview at their warehouse and kitchen. As she speaks, each one turns to the other and laughs. They play off each other, much like the flavor combinations of their 21 various truffles.
Ally and her husband and business partner, are self-described Third Culture Kids (TCKS). “The third culture happens when your parents take you to live in another culture while you are a child,” Ally explained. The “third culture” is a merger of country of origin and the various countries where the children live. Between them they speak six languages. Spanish, un poco.
“Even simple questions like ‘where are you from’ don’t work on us very well,” the 42-year-old Ally said. “We tend to shrug, or laugh. Where are we from? Where aren’t we from!”
“Every flavor of truffles we make represents a culture,” Max said. His and Ally’s mission is introducing folks “to the flavors of the world” while keeping alive the uniquely American tradition of fudge. Most accounts agree fudge was probably the result of an accident during the cooking of some other confection, possibly caramel. Through the years, the two explained, fudge has been lacking in reputation, as it tends to be dry and grainy with sugar.
The Sinclairs decided it was time to modernize fudge, make it creamier and “never too sweet.” The high quality chocolate they use comes from Switzerland and Belgium. Blending the two makes for 63 per cent cacao and results in chocolate fudge truffles that are rich and luscious. “Complex, with amazing depth of flavor,” Ally explains on the Cocopotamus website.
Max and Ally run the day-to-day operations and hire part time help as needed. So the two do everything, from making fudge, hand-dipping truffles and preparing orders for shipping.
Each truffle is hand-wrapped in thin foil. Each flavor has its own foil color. And each box comes with five chocolate delights and retails for about $9. The colorful retail packaging, designed by Max, is uniquely eye-catching. The truffles, touted and exclaimed about by the likes of food gurus Rachael Ray and Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten, are all natural, with no preservatives, and no corn syrup.
Both Max and Ally grew up in families that loved food. Max was raised in Hong Kong by his grandmother, a “fantastic cook,” he said. He trained with a restaurant chef in Singapore, is a gourmet cook and has a Master’s degree in business administration.
Ally, a self-described chocoholic who holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications, calls Max an extreme foodie and the “the savory side” of their relationship. She holds both Professional Chocolatier and Master Chocolatier qualifications from École Chocolat in Vancouver and is the baker of the family, having learned from her Iowan grandmother, who also introduced her to fudge and the art of hand-dipping chocolate. When her grandmother gave a seal of approval to the “modern” fudge recipe it was the piece de résistance.
Ally and Max met at University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario, married and graduated in 1987 and ended up in Singapore with professional careers, Ally as magazine editor and writer and Max as a management consultant and managing partner for an international consulting firm. In the mid-90s they opened NYDC, short for New York Dessert Café. It was wildly successful. The couple eventually sold NYDC, moved back to the states and settled in for a respite near Portland, Oregon. That’s when the idea of fudge truffles began to percolate.
“Our real motivation is making fun food that will bring people together, chocolate just happens to be the medium,” Max explained.
The Sinclairs chose to adopt New Mexico as their home and started their business 18 months ago. Their truffles are now available in almost every state. In New Mexico, Cocopatmus is sold at several gift and specialty retailers in Albuquerque, Corrales, Taos and Santa Fe.
And if you are wondering about specific holiday flavors, there’s “Santa’s Addiction,” double peppermint, “Yo-ho-ho,” laced with Caribbean dark rum, and “Blame Canada,” with pure maple from Vermont and Canada.
Contact information: Cocopatamus.com 505-750-4388
Edible celebrates New Mexico's food culture, season by season. We believe that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing. With our high-quality, aesthetically pleasing and informative publication, we inspire readers to support and celebrate the growers, producers, chefs, beverage and food artisans, and other food professionals in our community.