Editors Note: As the Editor-in-Chief of Bella Life I am constantly getting flooded with pitches from companies and individuals who want to be a part of our site.  Although I rarely have time for many of them, once in a while I am hit with a story that just captivates me and that’s when I can’t wait to share it with all of you!  That’s how it was when I learned about Rob Monahan and Neill Alleva of Professor Chocolate.  I have to admit my initial interest was due to my personal obsession with chocolate in all of its delicious forms, but something inside me felt  that there was more to this story than just chocolate, and I was right. ~Nitika~

Rob and Neill (above Rob pictured standing, Neill is kneeling) met 10 years ago in the New York City Teaching Fellows program and have been best friends ever since.  They taught elementary school together and started an affordable Science camp for kids in the neighborhood where they taught before getting serious about chocolate.

Although chocolate started out as a hobby for this lovable duo, a series of health complications and the loss of an incredible friend was all they needed to realize there is no time like the present to follow their dreams.  Rob was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma (a type of cancer that effects the bile ducts and can be considered lethal and spread rapidly) in 2007 and in March of 2008 had to have a tumor removed from his liver.  Rob feels that this surgery changed him in ways he had not experienced before.  Although he had Leukemia as a child with months of Chemotherapy, this surgery transformed the way he looked at life as an adult and allowed him to live every moment to the fullest.

Neill (pictured above kneeling) had been enrolled in a Theology Master’s program when he learned that new tumors surfaced on Rob’s liver after his surgery.  Knowing that Bile Duct cancer has an incredibly grim prognosis; Neill did whatever he could to take care of his best friend.  The very next week Neill dropped out of his Theology Master’s program, less than 6 months from completion.  That was in September 2008, and instead of stopping their lives and being down about its challenges, they spent the next two years creating their publishing company and finishing the book they had dreamed about.

Over the course of several years, Neill and Rob discovered all of New York’s best-kept chocolate secrets.  Last September, they published The Ultimate Guide to Finding Chocolate in NYC.  It’s a comprehensive, fact-filled guide to over 40 chocolate boutiques in lower Manhattan and select neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  Since the book was born from their love of walking around New York City and discovering their surroundings, each section of the book is a neighborhood in New York City and they even offer walking tours for their fans in whichever neighborhood you choose!  It combines most peoples’ love of chocolate along with a sense of adventure, discovery and fun.  If you can’t wait for the book to be delivered and want to learn more now, check out their informative website  www.professorchocolate.com and get ready for an additional guide to expanded locations within the NY metropolitan area which is already in progress.

Rob recently told me “Neill came to my life right when I needed him. Since Neill came on board officially, I have had nothing but good news regarding the cancer.  Tumors in the liver have shrunk and some disappeared.  All of my other tumors have been stable.  I stand behind chocolate as a healthy super food, and I stand behind good friendship as the ultimate cure-all!”

Now if that doesn’t inspire you to add COLOR to your world and live your most colorful life today, I honestly don’t know what will.

About the Author

This post was brought to you by Nitika Chopra who is the passionate, colorful and inspirational voice behind www.YourBellaLife.com. As the Founding Editor-In-Chief of Bella Life, she is committed to guiding you through your journey towards healing whatever blocks you from true happiness, which is palpable with every article or video she creates. Have a question about this post or your own healing journey? Nitika would love to hear from you in the comments below! To learn more about Nitika Chopra or to connect with her further, visit her Bella Life profile here.

40 Responses to Professor Chocolate ~ So Much More Than Chocolate
  1. Danielle San Antonio February 2, 2011 at 1:15 AM Reply

    What an inspiring story!! Congratulations Rob and Neill on your book. I can’t wait to read it!!

  2. Amazing and so exciting! I knew your book would be a huge success. Can’t wait for the next tour! :)

  3. We need a Jersey City Chocolate tour!

  4. Patricia Ottaviano February 3, 2011 at 1:51 AM Reply

    Congrats for following your dreams Neill and Rob..what an inspiring article :)
    Definitely getting that book!

  5. As Rob’s dad, I can tell you that his journey is awe inspiring and he has a passion to create great things. He is one of my heroes and his book has streamlined my quest for good eats. Congrats, Neill and Robert.

  6. OMG that was such a great story! Congratulations to the both of you. You both deserve this and are the best! Plus- I had the BEST time on the tour this summer. Everyone should definitely try it sometime. ♥

  7. This was a fantastic writeup!!! These two deserve nothing but the best. Truly an amazing duo!!!

  8. Happy to be part of a household that always makes time for chocolate and exploration! Wonderful article. Wonderfully handsome chocolate authorities.

  9. This is awesome Nitika! I am so glad to have met you! Can’t wait for our tour.

  10. Marybeth Monahan Reynolds February 8, 2011 at 11:07 AM Reply

    I love my brother, Rob more than anything in the world. He and Neill are the Dynamic Duo in every aspect of their lives! They are inspirational and have introduced me and my family to a world of chocolate that I thought only existed in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Much continued success in all your endeavors.

  11. What an inspiring article. Congratulations and wishing you all continued success! And I second the vote for a NJ chocolate tour!

  12. Love the book, love the tours…. LOVE the chocolate I ate on the tours!!! Can’t wait for the next series!!

  13. Great story! The book is absolutely amazing…can’t wait to see what they do next!

  14. What a great write-up! So looking forward to a chocolate tour!

  15. It’s so refreshing to read about good people! Optimism, love, hope, determination, goals, adventure and friendship: Seeing how Rob beats the odds & has such a great friend is an inspiration. Life really is too short. Congrats to Rob & Neil for having the wisdom to not let each day go by without pursuing your dreams. Now, these are two outstanding role models for their young students!

  16. What an inspiring article, certainly makes one stop and think about what is truly important in life.

    Good luck to Rob & Neil for their future ventures. Wishing them both much success and good health.

  17. Thank you Nitika for sharing such a touching and amazing story! I am so excited to meet them during their fun filled chocolate tour tomorrow!

  18. Rob and Neill are two great and creative guys! Their book was great……a very fun and interesting book to read. Wish you both much success in your future adventures! Waiting for the “Virginia” tour!

  19. Jennifer Imperati June 12, 2011 at 8:32 PM Reply

    What a touching story! Keep up the good work guys!

  20. Rob and Neil deserve all the success in the world…Can’t wait for the next book! Congratulations guys! :)


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