My friend Brian took some photos during the packing party that captured the sheer volume of the operation. So here they are:
The packing process has been streamlined by my friends over the years, and has become remarkably efficient. First, all the chocolates get put into cups, which takes about two hours with eight people working. (30 chocolates per box times 72 boxes = 2160 chocolates to cup!)
Next, we pack a sample box. Usually it’s a tight squeeze to get everything in, and this year was no exception. We packed the bottom layer as best we could, then packed the top layer with the remaining chocolates. Not everything fit, so we took some chocolates out and rearranged. Once we had an arrangement that worked, we divided the candies, with one table devoted to the top layer and one to the bottom layer.
Then we packed the boxes. This takes 2-3 people per layer. One person would pack most of the chocolates, and one or two people would squeeze in the tricky last few chocolates. Once the layer was complete, they’d hand it off to the next step in the process.
Meanwhile, another group was at work on the packed boxes. One person folded the inserts. One person closed the candy boxes as they arrived (tricky because the chocolates are packed so tightly), one polished the boxes to remove smears of colored cocoa butter, and one more applied the logo sticker. Two people tied ribbon bows (tricky even with precut ribbons), two people packed the finished boxes into shipping boxes, and one person (that’s me) put on the address labels at the end. The Fuzz supervised the entire process, of course. (Cats make excellent supervisors!)
And here is the finished result:
In toto, it took ten people about four hours to pack everything. My friends carted off all the chocolates they could eat, and the rest got packed up for my coworkers. I did keep several extra boxes, in case a package miscarried, and (if all goes well) will feed them to friends at various Thanksgiving gatherings.
And just in time…I’m running out of book blog posts, must get back to writing! Nose to the grindstone, fingers to keyboard – go go go!