In 1997, Marilyn Lysohir and her husband Ross Coates began making and distributing chocolates and other treats in addition to working as an artist in Moscow. Cowgirl Chocolates are all-natural, kosher chocolates that are unique in that they contain hot pepper as an ingredient. When you first put one in your mouth, it will taste smooth like other high quality chocolates. After a second or two, you'll taste the fiery pepper. Marilyn admits that not everyone can take the heat of her chocolates. However, enough people enjoy both chocolate and spice to keep Marilyn busy shipping her candies from Moscow to all over the world. Cowgirl Chocolates come in mint, orange, lime-tequila, espresso, and milk chocolate. Although espresso is the hottest, all five flavors are hot. In order to appease people who prefer chocolate without spice, this year Marilyn has started making "mild-mannered" milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffles. Also in the line of Cowgirl Chocolates' products, are a spicy caramel sauce and merchandise with the company logo and the tongue-in-cheek warning: "sissies stay away." Cowgirl Chocolates quickly began earning awards and gaining attention. Among the eleven awards that Marilyn keeps in her garage are two Golden Chiles, awarded by Chile Pepper Magazine. The critical success of Cowgirl Chocolates inspired Marilyn to adapt and increase the size of her operation. Today, Cowgirl Chocolates are made in cooperation with Seattle Chocolates. Marilyn makes the caramel sauce in a specialty kitchen in Sandpoint. As it turns out, shipping Cowgirl products to numerous locations throughout the world has proven to be the most difficult part of the business.
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