Ari's Top 5


The ultimate stand is to do something with your life that will make a difference. I learnt from my Native ancestry the power of commitment and the magic of bringing something into being. I learnt we are magical in this indefinable world where anything is possible because we are human beings.

—Douglas Cardinal

a black and white photo of the Zingerman's business perspective chart, with the Zingerman's experience and illustrations going around the outside of it, and text in the interior, with "vision" pointing to a ring with "principles, systems, beliefs, culture" which points to "results" and "great food! great service! Great finance!"

A Look at the Power
of Beliefs in Business Through Four Folktales
in the Making

Digging into the root system that makes a
Perpetual Purpose Trust possible

In his beautiful little self-published pamphlet “Folktales from the Sahel,” Christopher Kirkley tells the tale of a man named Mohamed Talaké. The evil chief of his village challenged Talaké, upon pain of death, to tell him “a story that had never been heard before.” Talaké turned to his wife and asked for help. She came through with flying colors by sharing just such a story. Unfortunately, as Kirkley puts it in the pamphlet, “We can’t tell it here, because then it would have been heard. But suffice it to say, it was an amazing story, the likes of which no one had ever known.” 

This bit of a Moebius strip of magical storytelling from the Sahara makes me smile. It also got me to consider the Zingerman’s story in a different context. Stories, as I learned from reading the work of my good friend, the Irish writer Gareth Higgins, are beliefs made manifest. In turn, the way we tell our stories is shaped by our beliefs. And those stories are shaping the beliefs of those who hear them. If our stories remain untold and/or unwritten, they have very little impact on the world. At best, they do nothing. At worst, we internalize them, and while we remain in denial, they will quietly affect our lives without us even knowing it. 

In telling the story that follows, I can’t match the creative tension of the central African folktale, but at least I will give it my best shot. The moral of the Sahelian story is that power and evil will challenge us, but will not win out—in the end, Mohamed Talaké triumphs over the evil and greedy king. The lessons from this in-the-moment bit of Zingerman’s storytelling are about beliefs. I’ve learned so, so much about the power of beliefs in business—and in life in general—over the last ten years or so. How critical it is to be conscious of what our beliefs are. How beliefs, whether we’re conscious of them or not, are driving so much of what we do and what happens in our organizations. How seriously long it generally takes to truly change a belief. And, in the context of what I wrote last week about the Zingerman’s Perpetual Purpose Trust, how critical it is that our beliefs be aligned with what projects we opt to undertake—without that alignment, I’ve learned over and over again, our work will not go well. 

All this struck me as congruous with the Sahelian story because even in the well-educated, middle-class world in which I was raised, beliefs were, in the most practical sense of the word, pretty much a “secret.” Sure, I heard and read the word regularly. But I didn’t hear it being discussed in the sort of in-depth, reflective, detail that I’ve learned to embrace in recent years. No one taught me that what we believe drives much of our lives, that we have the power to choose our beliefs, and that we can change them. No one shared the image that beliefs were like the root system of our lives. Certainly, no one shared William James' quote, “Belief creates the actual fact.” If beliefs had been talked about in this manner, I say smiling now, I could have saved myself and others a lot of stress.

It’s only about 10 years ago now, while reading Bob and Judith Wright’s wonderful book, Transformed!, that I stumbled onto the Self-Fulfilling Belief Cycle that I had never seen before. Over the course of a few years, the spark that came from the story turned into the 600-page book, The Power of Beliefs in Business, Part 4. The work that went into that book, and the work that has come from it, has, without question, changed my life. It’s also, I believe, altered our (already pretty good) organization for the better, too. 

All of which brings me to four very recent Zingerman’s stories that, I realize now, nearly went untold. As with many stories that turn out to be significant, I almost missed them in the moment they occurred. None are headline-grabbing; all are important indicators of how much our work around beliefs—ten years after the work began; seven years after the book came out—has been embraced by our culture. If I/we tell tales like these often, perhaps when we get to that hundredth anniversary in Zingerman’s history that I set my hopes on in the piece last week on the Perpetual Purpose Trust, they might have turned into a sort of Zingerman’s version of folktales.

Story #1: This tale took place at the same time I was presenting about the ZPPT two weeks ago at our company-wide huddle. What was it? About 50 feet from where I was sitting, over to my left, on the west wall of what the ZingTrain crew calls “the Big Training Room,” I noticed that the word “beliefs” had been, as we’d agreed a few months earlier, formally added onto our Business Perspective Chart. The word is small, but the significance, I believe, is big. While the presentation of the ZPPT (and also of our health care plan for the year) got a good bit of attention, I don’t believe this change got much of any. I’m not complaining. The fact that it drew so little attention is, I believe, a good thing. Sometimes what’s noteworthy about a change is that it goes almost unnoticed. Ebilitoh and Dubzaine, in their book Indigenous and Black Wisdub, quote their friend George from the Solomon Islands: “What is not said in Melanesian communities is often more important than what is said.”

The Business Perspective Chart itself is a cultural icon here at Zingerman’s—an informative and helpful educational tool, a visual portrayal of how the various pieces of the organization fit together, that we teach in all of our internal classes. You can read much more about it in Secret #4 in Part 1. Using our Bottom-Line Change process, the addition of the beliefs to the chart was part of a year-long conversation. We approved adding the word late last fall at another ZCoB huddle (more on this governance work to come). The word “beliefs” being painted on the wall was a happy sign that seven years of hard work later, the roots are getting deeper, the “plants” that grow from them stronger, and more able to stand on their own. 

Story #2: Last month, one of our long-time managers reached out to ask me to teach a class for her staff on beliefs. Turns out they had a lot of new folks and were running into some of the typical challenges that new crew coming into our culture very often encounter. The class will, of course, be open to anyone who works here who wants to come. The cultural observation that caught my attention was that this manager, who has done great work for decades, had the creative thought to ask for this class to be taught. Although the beliefs work has—to the point of this piece—been talked about and worked on in a LOT of ZCoB spots, we have not had a free-standing internal class centered only on the subject of beliefs. Now we will. The roots of the belief work will, in the process, sink even more deeply into the cultural soil.

Story #3: As part of a regular leadership reading program at the Roadhouse, the managers take turns picking one of the essays from the Guide to Good Leading books. A few weeks ago one of the managers chose Secret #43: “A Recipe for Changing a Belief.” He led the conversation with a fantastic presentation! He shared what he had learned, and that he had chosen this essay because he had a long-standing belief that he wanted to change. It’s a belief that many of us might be able to relate to—that when we’re not working “in the business,” helping the staff directly, we’re not really “doing anything.” He’s realized that this belief is getting in the way of his leadership growth, and used this teaching to initiate the adoption of a new belief. He shared each step of the recipe and talked about how he was applying it personally. It was truly inspiring!

Story #4: I was standing in one of the many production spaces in the ZCoB the other day, chatting with folks who were working. Because I had beliefs on my mind, I asked what they had learned about beliefs in their time working here. A bunch of answers came up quickly about how it helped them to more effectively default to positive beliefs, to better manage new trainees, and to work through difficult situations more smoothly. One of them pointed to the wall behind me to a taped-up copy of the Belief Cycle I had learned from Bob and Judith Wright all those years ago: “We use it all the time—I just point up there and use the Belief Cycle as a training tool! It’s easy!” Later, someone else who works in the department shared how much learning to begin with positive beliefs has helped her in her personal life as well.

All four of these stories served to send me the same message: the belief that beliefs matter is, more and more, an integral part of the culture that is Zingerman’s. In fact, I remind myself now, much of this work around beliefs—including the formal rolling out of our Statement of Beliefs, also at a ZCoB Huddle, but back in June of 2021—happened in the middle of a global pandemic. And it all served to increase the strength of my already pretty strong belief that our succession work, of which the Perpetual Purpose Trust is one part, can work. 

Coming back to what I wrote about the ZPPT last week, there are three elements I’ve come to see of any succession work. They are important, I believe, in countries, in communities, and in companies (a category in which I would include not-for-profits). One is Governance. I’ll get to this soon. One is Legal and Financial—that’s where ZPPT fits in. The third (and there’s no hierarchy to the order) is Culture. Culture, as my friend Patrick Hoban once pointed out, is “our beliefs in action.” Like the Three Sisters in Indigenous American agriculture, each supports the other. Each of the three on its own is good, but long-term, sustainable organizational health will do best when all three are in place. 

Looking ahead, while some of you are, I’m happy and humbled to hear, considering looking into Perpetual Purpose Trusts, I would encourage you to also consider some of this work about beliefs. While the Perpetual Purpose Trust is going to get the headlines (I’ve had five interview requests in the last two days), the beliefs work is actually just as important. I realize upon reflection that both projects have been proceeding in parallel, over roughly the same ten-year period! Each is good; together, they’re better still. Ebilitoh, Prasonik, and Dubzaine say in their new book, Searching for the Dub Sublime, “In some circles there is a deep and urgent understanding of the need for connecting the inner and outer dub through the creation of alternative economies and communities.” The Perpetual Purpose Trust, in this context, is the “outer dub.” The beliefs work is the “inner.” Either can be started on its own, but to really go a long way, we will do our best to do the outer and inner dub work in tandem. Perpetual Purpose Trusts without appropriately aligned beliefs are unlikely to do well.

In this context, it strikes me that there are 7 underlying beliefs that seem particularly important here. For something like the ZPPT to work well, I believe we need to believe that: 

1. Beliefs matter.

In a slightly entertaining example of double-negative in action that made me smile, in a talk about how we can strengthen democracy and avoid autocracy, historian Timothy Snyder rhetorically asked an audience: “What would I like for us most not to do? I would like to ask that we not be unreflective.” Most of the world, I’ve come to realize, has learned as little about the power of beliefs as I did when I was a kid. Most people have not learned that spending time reflecting on what they believe is a worthwhile investment of time. Or been encouraged to consider whether the beliefs we hold are actually helpful. Once we embrace that what we believe is having a huge impact on our lives, we can work to make sure our beliefs are aligned with our plans for the future. 

2. We can each make a meaningful difference in the world.

Before we can begin to decide to make a difference, we have to believe we can. So much of the world right now is being led in the opposite direction. That they’re irrelevant and that their best strategy is to keep their heads down and stay out of trouble. To make something like the ZPPT into an effective reality, people in the organization need to embrace the belief that we each have enormous individual power to make a difference. 

The cover story in the current print issue of “Zingerman’s News” is all about this subject—it’s entitled, “You Really Can Make a Difference” (email me if you want copies—one guest took home a whole bale to hand out at his annual leadership meeting). The radical Indigenous Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal, about whom I wrote a bunch last month, says, “I believe our contribution can dramatically change everyone’s life on this planet.”

In his introduction to a recent reprint of Vaclav Havel’s classic, The Power of the Powerless, Timothy Snyder says that in totalitarian systems people willingly give up their power to make a difference. They go along with the crowd because everyone else seems to be doing the same. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Havel, Snyder says, “maintained that truthful words and actions of citizens matter, and that each of us has the responsibility to be a bit more courageous than we want to be."

3. Seeking the truth and holding true to it creates sustainability.

While it’s true that we can each believe what we want, believing in things that are patently untrue is ultimately unsustainable and unhealthy. Repeating untruths over and over again will not make them true. As Erich Fromm wrote,

The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane.

If we introduce untruths into our belief system we will eventually pay the price. It’s easy for all of us to be swayed by others. And it’s not easy to stand up to the crowd, to find your own way of “walking the road less traveled.” As E.F. Schumacher says in Small is Beautiful:

It takes a good deal of courage to say “no” to the fashions and fascinations of the age and to question the presuppositions of a civilization which appears destined to conquer the whole world; the requisite strength can be derived only from deep convictions.

4. Without hope, it’s hard to make great things happen.

Low hope—which we know leads people to apathy and recklessness—is all too common in the world these days. It serves all of us to believe in a positive future. (See Secrets #44 and #45 in Part 4 for much more on hope.) Timothy Snyder says that when there is no hope for a positive future, leaders lead by sewing distrust. The ZPPT is based on the inverse of each. It’s about a positive belief in people, a positive belief in our ability to envision and then create a future that resembles what we believe and want to create.

5. Acting generously helps everyone, including ourselves.

There’s an entire essay on the Spirit of Generosity—Secret #46 in Part 4. Here, I’ll just state succinctly: Without a spirit of generosity, ZPPT-like projects simply don't happen.

6. We are all in this together.

As E.F. Schumacher says over and over again in Small is Beautiful, whatever we have achieved is always the result of what many people besides us have done to contribute to creating whatever it is we have created. The idea that any of us are “self-made” is simply impossible. This then, is about the belief that what we earn through our work is appropriately and properly produced in order to be shared. This is back to Paul’s grandfather’s belief. “Remember,” he told Paul, “half of whatever you get belongs to the people around you.” 

7. A sense of equity is an essential element of organizational, social, and personal sustainability. 

The ZPPT is not a perfect way to attain ecosystem-wide equity, but it’s one imperfect organization’s imperfect attempt to move in that direction. If one’s goal is mostly to maximize one’s own wealth, Perpetual Purpose Trusts are not put in place. Rather, society at large advances the belief that the more we “have,” the “better we’re doing.” The social instability that comes from it is, Timothy Snyder reminds us, a serious issue. The U.S. is:

second in the world in wealth inequality after the Russian Federation. … If there is massive inequality of wealth and income, individuals and families no longer think “I've got a bright future,” they no longer believe—and this is something Mr. Trump got right even if he has no solution and he's making things worse on purpose—they no longer believe in the American dream, and they're correct not to do so.

While our companies can’t fix a country-wide issue, we can help move things in the right direction. As Paul has long been saying, “There’s such a thing as enough.”

When you put these seven beliefs together, probably with a few others I haven’t thought to include here, then I believe that very good things can happen: Perpetual Purpose Trusts, collaborative community work, spreading ownership to more and more people, inspiring long-term visions, sustainable successions, and then some. 

Timothy Snyder says that one reason history is so important is because it teaches us what is possible. That’s certainly true with the ZPPT—it was learning about what the Scott Bader Commonwealth had done in Britain back in the 1950s that inspired us to investigate Perpetual Purpose Trusts. When we have the stories of people who have done good work in front of us, we are more likely to be inspired to go for greatness. I’ll close here with one of those stories. 

When I look at these seven beliefs, beliefs that underlie the work with ZPPT, I come to the story of Shaykh Amadou Bamba. Bamba was not wealthy, but he did leave an inspiring legacy of wisdom, beauty, and working for peace and dignity. Bamba was born 170 years ago, back in 1853, in Senegal, on the western end of the Sahel, which could be, for all we know, where the story that couldn’t be told took place. As an adult, he became one of the most significant leadership figures in the country—a master of Sufi mysticism, the spiritual leader of the region, a pacifist who led the resistance to French colonization, and a poet. He has been called in modern times, the “Senegalese Gandhi.” Bamba was far more religious than I am, but he shared many other beliefs—he was a supporter of what today we would call Servant Leadership, was grounded in humility, generosity, kindness, and a commitment to help human beings of all religions and races to lead meaningful lives. Imprisoned by the French for his beliefs, he fought back declaring his peaceful intentions: “The only weapons I will use to fight my enemies are the pen and the ink that I use to write my poems.” In 1918, the French government who had fought against him for years awarded Bamba with the French Legion of Honor for encouraging his followers to support the Allies in the First World War. In an act of humility and commitment to his beliefs, Bamba refused it.

Bamba’s poem, “In Quest of Healing,” based on his beliefs, seems poignant for the challenging times in which we live—a beautiful bit of generous, inclusive, and inspiring thinking to counter some of the divisiveness that we see hitting the headlines every day. The poem expresses what we hope can happen, in part, accomplish with the work of the Zingerman’s Perpetual Purpose Trust, what I believe that positive generous beliefs can help create anywhere, and what I hope for all of you in 2023:

Let Your blessings descend where harm exists

And let there be good where evil prevails.

And let there be generosity where avarice prevails.

Let wealth be showered in poor places and let there be gratitude where ingratitude prevails.

The power of beliefs in business

Ready to read up on beliefs? If you want to get going on learning about beliefs, there’s a wealth of written material. 

- The Power of Beliefs in Business

- Our Beliefs Bundle, which includes pamphlets for Secrets #40, #41, and #43; as well as our Statement of Beliefs so you can see what one looks like in action!

- Our Statement of Beliefs was created for us to use internally, but by popular request, we put it up for sale as well. It is, I believe, as powerful as a step forward as the work around the ZPPT, or the writing of a long-term vision! Check it out here.

If you’d like to get large quantities of any or all of them for your team, let us know! We’d love to help make it happen! Just email Jenny at

ZingTrain Master Class on beliefs starts soon!

Speaking of beliefs, starting at the end of this month, Maggie Bayless from ZingTrain and I will be doing the next session of our online Master Class. One of the 22 items on my list of good outcomes caused by the pandemic, the Master Class—which we host on Zoom—makes it possible for us to convene a cohort of 25 folks from all over the world to work with me and Maggie over the course of five 2 ½-hour online sessions. This time, our subject is … The Power of Beliefs in Business. This means that you’ll get a much more in-depth understanding of how beliefs work in our organizations, how we can change them and manage them more effectively, and you can get going on putting together a Statement of Beliefs for your business.

Cutest Cookies in the County Help Raise Funds for Victims Of Domestic Violence

The 8th Annual Jelly Bean Jump Up Fundraiser
for SafeHouse Center

As many of you who’ve been around Zingerman’s for a while will already know, the canine love of my life, Jelly Bean, passed away at the end of May 2015. At the time, the grief was overwhelming—the loss of 17 years of close connection hit me hard. When Jelly Bean died, we wanted to try to take the sadness and loss and turn it toward a positive legacy, something to honor the kind, caring contribution she made to my life, and to the lives of so many others over the years. The following fall, we started the Jelly Bean Jump Up as a fundraiser in her memory for SafeHouse Center. It’s a great cause—SafeHouse provides a safe haven for adults and children who are otherwise trapped in abusive home settings. The spirit of positivity, hope, and generosity that Jelly Bean demonstrated every day is also what SafeHouse is all about. And that’s how the Jelly Bean Jump Up got started. 

This week marks the start of the eighth time we’ll be doing the Jump Up! As you would imagine, we got a bit sidetracked by the pandemic. In March of 2020, the special fundraising dinner at the Roadhouse featuring Alaska’s most famous fisherwoman, the marvelous Marie Rose from Shoreline Wild Salmon, took place the night before the earthquake of the pandemic shook our world the next day. (For much more on my/our experience of the pandemic, see “Working Through Hard Times.”) I’m happy to say we’re back up and running by helping to raise some money. Marie Rose will be coming back to do another fundraising dinner on Tuesday, March 14 (more on this soon) with her wild salmon at the Roadhouse. 

Starting this week though, the very kind and extremely generous folks at the Bakehouse have agreed to make Corgi Cookies all month long to support the Jump Up! That’s right, super good, exceptionally tasty sugar cookies that are decorated to look like Jelly Bean! Handmade fondant on top of all-butter, real vanilla-and-a hint-of-citrus-zest sugar cookies. They have been pretty much immediately and universally hailed as “the cutest cookies in the county.” And, the Bakeshop is generously donating $1 from each cookie to the Jelly Bean Jump Up. 

The need for SafeHouse Center’s services is, unfortunately, higher than ever—domestic violence increased dramatically during the years of the pandemic as added tensions, quarantines, and divisive politics led more Americans than ever to act violently against those they lived with.

The Jump Up has become a significant fundraiser to help SafeHouse Center support its own financial health. This means that victims of domestic violence in Washtenaw County can have confidence that the place they can always count on to provide shelter and support will stay financially sound. You can contribute to the Jelly Bean Jump Up cause at all the Zingerman’s businesses throughout February. And, also, all the Plum Markets (they have the Corgi Cookies too!) will be again generously participating in the Jelly Bean Jump Up from March 6 through March 12. You can make a donation directly on the SafeHouse Center website.

Learn more and donate now
a side view of the interior of half of a wheel of durrus cheese

Durrus Cheese
from Ireland

Super delicious semi-soft washed rind cheese
from West Cork

Somewhere, somehow, in the late 17th century, around the time the story of the Convulsionairres (see Trevor Dunn’s new album below) was unfolding in all its amazing strangeness, traditional Irish cheese essentially disappeared. Why? Best I can tell, no one knows. Or if they do, it’s a bit like that story from the Sahel: they don’t or won’t tell it because then it will have been heard. I suppose the mystery of it is appropriate, since, as Manchán Magan writes, Ireland is a place where “the superiority of history over legend was never established, nor was there a clear line drawn between them.”

Two centuries or so later, in the late 1970s, artisan cheese made a nearly miraculous return to the Irish food scene. I hope it’s not too sacrilegious to think of it as something akin to the “Resurrection of Cheeses.” By the time I went to Ireland for the first time in 1989 (I loved it so much, I’ve been back about 20 times), a dozen or so Irish artisan cheesemakers had started up again. There were also of course some big factories making “block” cheese, but it was the artisans I was interested in. Out on the West Coast, there was a trio of terrific washed rind cheeses all made by amazing women who led the work to revive Irish traditional cheese. Amazingly, impressively and inspiringly, all three cheeses are still being made in marvelous form nearly 40 years down the river of Irish culinary history. Giana Ferguson’s family’s Gubbeen down in Schull, the Steele family making Milleens in Eyeries, and Jeffa Gill and daughter crafting Durrus in the town of the same name. 

Like my friend Natalie Chanin (she’ll be here at the Roadhouse on Tuesday, April 11 doing an event around her new book Embroidery), Jeffa Gill originally went to design school in Dublin and London. In the early 70s, she came back to West Cork and bought a small farm on a hill in the valley of Coomkeen close to Durrus, at the head of the Mizen Head and Sheep’s Head peninsulas. It’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world, one of the elements of the Irish landscape that led me to fall in love with the island. Inspired by the cheese work of her friend Veronica Steele at Milleens, Jeffa started making small washed rind wheels of cheese as well. By 1984, Durrus was winning awards.

The Durrus cheese itself is always delicious and the wheels that arrived at the end of last week are particularly lovely. Selected and matured for us by our friends at Neal’s Yard Dairy (a magical and coincidental connection that happened while I was visiting Gubbeen on that same first trip!), Durrus is soft, creamy, and smooth with a texture that's both typical and terrific in washed rind cheeses of this sort. Think Reblochon or Muenster from France—or in the U.S. now, Harbison from the folks at Jasper Hill in Vermont. It’s meaty and marvelously substantial! Eat it as-is with a bit of Bakehouse baguette! In the spirit of Muenster, the Durrus is crazy good sprinkled with some of that Uzbek wild cumin seed we get from the Épices de Cru folks! You can also melt it on potatoes, or in a nod to my friends at Fumbally Café in Dublin, add slices of soft Durrus to your scrambled eggs. 

Order a copy of Manchán Magan’s Listen to the Landscape, bring home some Durrus and a Bakehouse baguette, drink a glass of wine, and consider going to Ireland with the Zingerman’s Food Tour crew in September! It will change your life!

Take home an Irish original
P.S. You won’t find Durrus on the Mail Order site, but we’d still be happy to send a wheel your way. Email us at

Six Days of Extra
Delicious Dining During
Restaurant Week

Miss Kim, Roadhouse, and Deli do it up right!

From the 5th of February through the 10th, Miss Kim, the Roadhouse, and the Deli will all be doing some cool stuff for the annual celebration of Restaurant Week. If you’re looking for a good reason—or in our case, a whole range of good reasons—to get out of the house for this mid-winter week when there aren’t a whole lot of other events going on, this could be it!! Good food, good deals, good cheer! We’ll be here, and we hope you will be too! Come on out and see us for lunch and/or dinner next week! Check the businesses’ links for all the lovely details!

Miss Kim: 3 courses / $34 per person

Newly nominated for James Beard’s “Best Chef: Great Lakes,” Ji Hye has put together a great menu that showcases Miss Kim classics and a couple of new items as well. Some of the stars of the Miss Kim Restaurant Week show include Smashed Potatoes (one of my personal favorites), Fried Broccolini, an amazing Arugula and Asian Pear Salad, along with main courses like our version of what we affectionately and informally refer to as at times as KFC (“Korean Fried Chicken”), that terrific, crunchy-crust, silky smooth in the inside Korean Fried Tofu, and Chicken or Tofu Bibimbob. Cool Bakehouse cupcakes for dessert too!!!

The Roadhouse: 3 courses, two times a day

A whole bunch of good stuff for lunch: Curried Sweet Potato Fries (made with that really really good Garam Masala from Épices de Cru in Montreal), a super tasty Fried Haddock and Fennel Slaw sandwich, the Roadhouse’s Southern Reuben (made with Arkansas Peppered Ham and Chalet Cheese Coop Baby Swiss from Monroe, Wisconsin), and Roadhouse Mac and Cheese (made with that organic farmstead Mancini pasta from the Marche).

In the evening? BBQ Nachos, Wild-caught North Carolina coast Shrimp and Anson Mills Grits, Short Ribs and Camellia Red Beans from Louisiana, or the remarkable Reezy Peezy made with rare Sea Island Red Peas and Carolina Gold Rice.

The Deli

The Deli is doing it up a bit differently! We’ve got our Annual Pot Pie Promo happening—Deli pot pies are $11.99 each, and we have 6 different flavors (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, lamb, and mushroom). They are frozen and come with easy heating instructions! They are on sale through Restaurant Week (and beyond until Feb 28)—the more you buy, the more you save!

Buy 10, save 10%
Buy 20, save 20%
Buy 30, save 30%

And the crew decided to put on a Valentine Virtual Happy Hour: Wine, Cheese & Chocolate on the evening of Friday the 10th, the last night of Restaurant Week. Because it’s virtual, we pack the tasting box, you pick it up at the Deli, log on via Zoom, and listen in while Deli chocolate specialist Jennie Brooks and Cheese and Charcuterie master Connor Valone will share loads of good learning information while they guide you through the tasting. A chance to be part of Ann Arbor restaurant week all the way from Washington State to South Florida!

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
overhead view of a Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé Hot Paprika chocolate bar with its illustrated packaging on top of it
Photo credit Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé

Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé with Paprika
from Hungary

A spicy bar from Budapest’s best artisan chocolatier

I have long loved this exceptional chocolate bar that comes to us from Budapest. I have Hungary on my mind because last week, January 22, is the day that’s celebrated in Hungary as Culture Day (Happy Birthday, Zsofi!). It's the day, 200 years ago this year, in 1823, that poet Ferenc Kölcsey completed the poem called “Himnusz,” which later became Hungary’s national anthem. This chocolate bar is so uniquely Hungarian that it struck me as a great way to mark the day. Tasting it anew reminded me just how amazing it is, and now, here I am writing to you about it.

The name of the brand, Rózsavölgyi, looks a bit intimidating to an English speaker (as do so many Hungarian words—“Rozha-vol-yee” is the closest I can get to proper pronunciation) but eating the bar is about as easy as it gets. In English, the name means “Valley of the Roses”—which is an evocative, and positively memorable, pre-Valentine’s image to stick in your head! The little artisan chocolate shop was started by chocolate maker Katalin Csiszar and her husband Zsolt Szabad in Budapest nearly 20 years ago, back in 2004. They were the first new chocolatier to start up after the Communist government fell in 1989. Katalin does all the chocolate and the wonderful packaging design; Zsolt manages the production. Like so many of the chocolates we work with, the Rózsavölgyi folks are operating “bean to bar”—they have positive relationships with growers in all the producing countries with which they work. Zsolt roasts at the lighter end of the spectrum, so even the darkest of the Rózsavölgyi chocolate is still on the subtler side of the spectrum. 

Of the many marvelous offerings we receive from Rózsavölgyi, my favorite remains the 77-percent dark chocolate spiced with hot Hungarian paprika. The label is a cartoon drawing that features Harry Houdini, who gets center stage in the belief that pairing hot paprika and dark chocolate is a bit of a feat of magic. Houdini was a Jewish Hungarian, born in late March 1874 in Budapest, who came to the U.S. on the 3rd of July when young Eric Weisz was only four. They settled in the unlikely spot of Appleton, Wisconsin where his father became the rabbi at the Reform Congregation there. Young Eric began his magic career in 1891, but it took him nearly a decade to change his stage name to Houdini and begin to gain fame. Houdini was a character in E.L. Doctorow’s classic Ragtime, along with Emma Goldman (it’s still one of my favorite films). He died on Halloween of 1926 in Detroit. 

We have a range of other great-tasting, beautifully wrapped chocolate bars from Rózsavölgyi at the Candy Store and Deli, both! Buy one of each, wrap them in a ribbon, and you’ll have a remarkable gift—for Hungarian Culture Day, Valentine’s, or just because you want to brighten the day of someone you love with some great chocolate!

Add a bar to your bag
P.S. You won’t see the Rózsavölgyi chocolate bars on the Mail Order site, but we’d still be happy to ship you some. Email us at

Other Things on My Mind


Although I appreciate it enormously, I don’t generally listen to a lot of jazz. The other day, though, I got hooked on Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant’s new album, Sèances. Dunn is considered kind of a punk wizard of the stand-up bass. I was drawn to the music in great part because of the story behind it—that of the French religious sect called the Convulsionnaires. If you’re drawn, as I am, to learn about obscure religious groups that have been written out of mainstream history, study up! There’s a lot of info in the liner notes and a whole bunch of info online as well!

If you like dissonant and creatively disruptive rock and roll that’s maybe something like a cross between jazz, Velvet Underground, and Pere Ubu, check out Dunn’s show from a decade ago with Melvin’s Lite

Christopher Kirkley’s main work is running the wonderful record label, Sahel Sounds, which features fantastic music from the region. I particularly love the records from Les Filles de Illighadad!


Dacher Keltner’s book Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this enews and you know someone else who might like it, please pass it along. Have questions about Zingerman’s? Write us at
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Check out the archive →
(Your friends can sign up, too!)
Zingerman's Community of Businesses
Copyright © 2023 Zing IP, LLC., All rights reserved.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp