Everyone has their favorite decadent treat(s). Mine are bon bons and sea salt chocolate butter toffee from The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC. Owned by the Dietz and Ciordia families, The Secret Chocolatier was conceived when Chef Bill Dietz found himself at a career crossroads. He called a family meeting with his wife, Karen, their daughter Robin Ciordia and her husband Andy, and the four foodies decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Three years later, after building a following at local farmers markets and retailers, they responded to public demand for a storefront where customers could get their chocolate moment five days a week.
How good are they? Famed food critic, Helen Schwab from the Charlotte Observer proclaimed:
“In Timothy Leary’s eight-circuit model of consciousness, the eighth circuit is the one you need to get to for out-of-body experiences. Here’s a shortcut: Truffles from the Secret Chocolatier”
Their use of American craft chocolate, which is chopped and melted with hot cream to be whisked into silky ganache is a beautiful assault on the senses. It is full-bodied with a character akin to Frank Sinatra’s stage act. Saucy, yet robust. Combine that with fillings created in house from all natural ingredients, with nary a flavoring oil or extract in sight, and you have a chocolate ready for its Academy Award.
Andy and I met on Twitter in 2007 and struck up a fast friendship. When I heard about this tasty venture, I headed over to the Atherton Market in the South End section of Charlotte to test their wares. My first purchase was chocolate brownies. What’s so special about a chocolate brownie? When it is the perfectly sized three inch brownie enrobed in creamy chocolate creating a bit of heaven in every bite. More importantly, it passed the test of the pickiest chocolate connoisseur I know, my son.
I spent some time at The Secret Chocolatier before Christmas and learned how to make some of their products. It is a laborious process filled with love and marked by serious craftsmanship. During the time I was there, we created vanilla bon bons. The time to create these delectable treats is one and a half hours from start to finish. It doesn’t matter if it is one bon bon, or twenty dozen, that is how long the process takes.
Another lady who was with me on this field trip confided “I never understood why chocolate was priced the way it is until today. Now I won’t hesitate buying good chocolate.”
The entire premise behind The Secret Chocolatier is to create artisan chocolates. Chocolate is a family business and the Ciordia and Dietz families want their customers to feel like they are part of the family as well. Amazing corporate gifts are created via the concierge service, along with unique wedding ideas that will satisfy any bride.
You can find The Secret Chocolatier at the locations in Charlotte (listed below) or order online from their website.
Charlotte, NC 28277