Legal secretary or chocolate sculptor? After spending 25 years in the legal field and baking chocolate in her kitchen, filling orders for friends, family and co-workers, Jean Girard asked herself that question. The answer? Chocolate Creations in Eagle Rock. Today, with the help of her daughter, Teri Craft, Chocolate Creations has become a mother-daughter business that has sculpted various works of culinary art for everyone from casual Easter shoppers to the White House. Staff Reporter Conor Dougherty spoke with Teri Craft about some of their creations and plans to expand their retail business.
"My mom was enrolled in cake decorating classes and stumbled in on a chocolates class. After taking chocolate classes for several months, she began making chocolates in her home, selling them to friends and family and co-workers. The orders for her product started to mount, so she had to get out of her kitchen.
"That's when I came in. We found a commercial kitchen and manufacturing facility in Eagle Rock. We got equipment and hired employees on her capital. We had brochures made up, gave samples to various stores, hotels and country clubs. The response was very good.
"All of our chocolates are handcrafted. We melt the chocolate and pour it in a mold. We do a lot of custom pieces for corporate customers, such as Universal Studios. We did their logo in chocolate. We've done a full-size football for Fox Sports, which weighed around eight pounds. We did chocolate versions of the White House for President Clinton and chocolate 2000s for the White House New Year's Eve party that year.
"Our most popular items are our chocolate boxes, which we do for every season. Heart-shaped boxes for Valentine's Day, Santas for Christmas.
"For Easter we do bunny-shaped boxes that are yellow, pink and lavender. Inside of the bunnies are gourmet Dutch mints, assorted chocolates, or truffles. The average box runs $10 to $15. Our most expensive item is $60, which would be a basket filled with chocolate roses. One of the largest things we do is the Eiffel Tower, which will probably be in the Bloomingdale's catalog for Christmas. It's 13 inches tall and weighs around a pound and a half. We also do a Christmas snowman and Santa that are around a foot and a half tall and weigh eight pounds each. They're about a hundred bucks. The average gift, though, runs between $8 and $20."
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