Mona Wilson has an eclectic background: Her resume includes marketing, real estate, Asian art. But today she calls Glen Ellen home, and is transforming her passion for an old family recipe into a business called Teddy Tucker.
An admitted chocoholic, Wilson’s chocolate sauce is made from an old family recipe culled from her mother’s first cousin, Teddy Tucker.
“Teddy, a spinster banker, brought her fabulous and always popular chocolate sauce to every family celebration,” said Wilson.
She uses local ingredients – including Clover cream and Ghirardelli chocolate – in her sauce. The natural ingredients are essential, she says, but the most important ingredient is what she leaves out: corn syrup.
Teddy Tucker chocolate sauce can be found locally at Glen Ellen Village Market, , the , and in Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Napa.
Sonoma Patch: You grew up in Portland. How did you end up in Glen Ellen?
Mona: We bought our house in Glen Ellen as a weekend "retreat" to escape San Francisco's fog and to enjoy the great outdoors. Now it’s our main residence.
SP: You lived in Hong Kong for nine years.
Mona: My husband's job as an international banker took us there. It was wonderful and fascinating.
SP: What was the most interesting business lesson you learned there?
Mona: The people of Hong Kong are natural entrepreneurs with an incredible work ethic. They’re not afraid of risk or hard work. As an example, one of the richest men in Hong Kong, Li Ka Shing, started out making plastic flowers in a dingy room.
SP: What passions did you bring back with you?
Mona: When I first returned from Asia, I was very involved with the Asian Art Museum. I continue to have a great love of Asian art, particularly ceramics. I also still have a strong interest in contemporary Japanese prints; I dealt in them for seven years.
SP: What made you think your chocolate sauce was a viable business idea?
Mona: When I served it to friends in Hong Kong, they asked me to start making and selling it because you couldn’t get any decent chocolate sauce in Hong Kong. I sold it there in several small gourmet shops. Then we moved back to the U.S.
SP: What do chocolate and art have in common?
Mona: Art brings pleasure to the onlooker; Chocolate sauce brings pleasure to the consumer. The most obvious way is over your favorite ice cream. It makes a wonderful
SP: How much of it do you consume?
Mona: Not that much on a regular basis but I’m always looking for an excuse to serve it so I can indulge.
SP: Favorite way to have it?
Mona: My son claims the best way to eat is straight from the jar. I have a fondness for it over peppermint ice cream! It makes a mean hot chocolate.
SP: What do you do when you're not working?
Mona: Hike, ski, play tennis, kayak and garden.
SP: Great for burning off chocolate sauce calories.
Mona: Having lived so long in Asia, I love cooking Asian food ranging from Thai to Indian to Malaysian. I’m an avid reader and particularly love historical biographies,
SP: If you could have anyone in the world taste your sauce, who would it be?
Mona: Posthumously, Julia Child. She really went where few women had ventured in the cooking world. I would probably serve it over profiteroles with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and blueberries.