What is a Banyan Tree?
I remember as a child, flipping through the pages of an encyclopedia my parents had bought from a door-to-door salesman (does that mean I’m old?). Looking through the B’s I saw a picture of a large plant, with people standing underneath it. The picture, according to the credit, was taken in India and to my young eyes it looked exotic, mysterious, beautiful, curious, and strange, all at the same time.
The first time I remember seeing a real live banyan tree was right here in Sarasota, in the grounds of the Ringling Museum. It was the first time we had visited the area while looking for a place to put down roots for our eventual retirement; something of a sign you might say, as that’s what Banyan Trees do – take root. Runners hang down from the branches and when they reach the ground, they take root and the tree grows bigger, wider and stronger as it gets older. There’s one in India that is more than 1,000 feet in circumference and thought to be some 250 years old!
When deciding on a name for our chocolate shop, we went through dozens of names. Throwing each one away as we decided that it just wasn’t a right fit, was already taken, the website name was already taken or too complicated (a consideration in this day and age). When my husband came up with Banyan Tree Chocolate, it suddenly seemed perfect; had we found our name? The more we talked about it, the more right it seemed. There are many of these beautiful, exotic trees around Sarasota and in Florida. They not only grow at the Ringling, but also at Marie Selby Gardens, and in many other locations near here. So, we did the research; no, it wasn’t taken, yes, the URL was available!
But it also represents our brand. Chocolate – fine chocolate – is also exotic, mysterious, beautiful, curious, and strange – not to mention tasty (not that I’ve ever eaten a banyan tree, nor its fruit which are not for human consumption). And so that is how we got our name. The “Café” part came along later, but that’s another story for another time.