News / USA

Maryland Shop Cooks Up Chocolate Vote

Faiza Elmasry
On Election Day, Nov. 6, millions of Americans will cast their vote for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for U.S President.

But The Perfect Truffle, a chocolate shop in Frederick, Maryland, is giving customers an opportunity to vote ahead of time.

Making chocolate is chef Randy Olmstead’s specialty and passion. And this election season, he has cooked up something special for his customers: a political truffle campaign. He came up with the idea during the 2008 presidential election, to see which candidate would get the chocolate vote.

“We had our very first African-American candidate and it was a situation which I wanted to be part of, because it was historic for our country,"  Olmstead says. "So what we started doing, let’s find out how people really feel and what better way than to create a Democratic chocolate and a Republican chocolate?”

The Democratic truffle has a donkey on its dark chocolate shell; the Republican truffle has an elephant - the emblems of the two major U.S. political parties. Democratic truffles are on the left side of the display case, Republican truffles to the right, with a narrow aisle between them.

Olmstead is often surprised by his customers’ reactions to his political chocolate.

“We'll have a person come in, buys some Democratic chocolates and the person standing behind him will come and go, ‘How many did they just buy?’ ‘They just bought four.’ ‘OK, give me eight of the other party.'”

Frederick is a conservative small town in Maryland, a state which usually elects Democrats.

“We’re in a district, within our House of Representatives, in which we’ve had a Republican representative now for many, many terms,"  Olmstead says. "So there is a kind of split.”

His customers reflect that split. Often, he says, his truffle campaign sparks political discussions among them about the campaign and the issues.

“Sometimes people don’t talk about them with their neighbors because they get emotional about it. It can cause rifts, if two people are extremely different in their viewpoints, and you live next to that person, sometimes you're a little wary of doing that. But to walk in here and then see the political chocolate, they go, 'Oh, I need one of those Democratics,' or 'Oh, I need a Republican.'"  

Melissa Buckman, a regular customer, likes the truffle campaign. She points out that chocolate is a bipartisan favorite.

“You can meet up in a chocolate store and start talking politics, I thought that’s a pretty neat idea,” she says. “A lot of people have bad feelings towards each other. It gets really personal. So I think this is just a fun way to kind of make amends with each other and say, 'hey, let's go vote at the chocolate shop!'”

Tim Eichelberger, who learned about the campaign online, savors the taste of chocolate and democracy.

“We can all come together, cast our vote and eat chocolate - to me, it’s an excellent way to celebrate the election," he says. "And it is something to celebrate, understanding that there are still people who struggle with the right to vote. So we just have it so readily here, it’s absolutely something to be celebrated, and this is a perfect way to do it.”

Olmstead keeps an unofficial vote count.

“Our numbers as of right now: the Democrats are ahead, 178 votes to 146 votes," he says. "And if my math is correct, people can check that, the Democrats are 55 percent of the total vote. This is not scientific at all. You walk in. We take a pen. We do a check mark.”

The numbers are constantly changing. Each Tuesday through election day, updates will be posted on the store’s website. Olmstead hopes his campaign will help raise political participation, and sales of chocolate.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: J.L.Lee from: Oregon
October 22, 2012 6:55 PM
Don't buy the republican ones, they are hollow like their candidate for President and VP. Just a lot of air!.

by: Joke from: China
October 20, 2012 9:13 AM
It is a clever way to make money in an election.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs