Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Berried in Chocolate

When it comes to creating a business, selling things you dip in chocolate sounds like not a bad plan.

Shari Fitzpatrick, founder of Berry Factory and author of "Berried in Chocolate: How I Built a Multimillion-Dollar Business by Doing What I Love to Do and How You Can Too," (Pelican, January 2011, $23, hardcover, 223 pp.), built her business on perfect strawberries, dipped in chocolate. The upbeat first-time author pretty much says it all in her title.

According to her publisher, at the age of 25, with just $1,500, Fitzpatrick started a business from her one-bedroom apartment dipping strawberries in chocolate. She had previously worked as a flight attendant, then a mortgage broker, and later a stockbroker, and wanted to pursue a dream of opening her own business.

"In 1989, when the business began, I was so young - 25 - and I didn't know it was impossible to do what I did. My financing consisted of a cash advance on a credit card," Fitzpatrick writes.

Today, Fitzpatrick is the founder of a multimillion-dollar company and the owner of the Berry Factory, provider of the nation’s leading brand of gourmet berries.

"Since my first company began, over 14 million gourmet dipped strawberries have been shipped all over the country," she said. "I am recognized as a leader in the gourmet-food gift industry."

In the down-to-earth, encouraging book, Fitzpatrick shares her strategies and offers advice for other entrepreneurs. The book is complete with recipes for such things as a "Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake," 32 color photos and four black-and-white photos. Fitzpatrick is also a Catholic woman of strong faith, and quotes the Bible throughout.

"I pray for guidance every single day. All of us need guidance. Because no one does anything alone," Fitzpatrick writes.

Her publisher says, "Here, she shares her triumphs and her failures, and each of her 12 chapters highlights an entrepreneurial lesson drawn from personal experience. As an extra treat, Shari throws in one 'secret recipe' per chapter, ranging from milkshakes to pies and specialty drinks."

Pies, a chocolate-dipped strawberry martini and Shari's Chicken Saltimbocca are among the recipes, and there's also, of course, one for melted dipping chocolate.

Would you like a copy of this book? As it so happens, I have one generously donated by Pelican Publishing to give away. To be considered, please e-mail me with an address to send the book at or simply comment on this blog.

About the author:

Fitzpatrick is the founder of a multimillion-dollar company and the owner of the Berry Factory. She has earned such distinctions as “Best Business Person” by Sacramento Magazine and “2002 Business Woman of the Year” by the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. Since the 1990s, her gourmet chocolate-covered berries have been named “Best Product/Gift Basket” by readers of Sacramento Magazine.

Fitzpatrick’s hand-dipped berries were listed in O Magazine as one of Oprah’s favorite things, are a regular prize on the TV game show “Wheel of Fortune,” have been featured on “The Today Show” and “The Apprentice,” and have been highlighted in People magazine and Reader’s Digest. Fitzpatrick was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul.

Fitzpatrick attended the Oregon Institute of Technology and received an associate of arts degree from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. She lives outside Sacramento in Placerville, Calif.

Visit Fitzpatrick's author page on Facebook by clicking here.

Check out some dipped strawberries from the Berry Factory here.

Click here for a February 2011 review by the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME) that includes step-by-step instructions for dipping strawberries and some of Fitzpatrick's recipes.