Chocolatiers

Handcrafting chocolate is a true art. It takes love and care to create a perfect morsel of chocolate - plus plenty of time. That's why there aren't a whole lot of folks who make chocolate from bean to bar. These chocolatiers in West Virginia are churning out some of the tastiest bites you'll find in Appalachia.

Chocolate Fetish

Holl's Handcrafted Swiss Chocolates
Holl’s Chocolates is a small, family-owned business that specializes in creating traditional Swiss chocolates. Their commitment to creating authentic Swiss chocolates grows out of the experiences of three generations of Swiss trained chocolatiers. The history of Holl’s begins with founder Fritz Holl’s training as a Conditor in Switzerland. As a young man, Fritz was sent to Zurich to be an apprentice in his uncle’s Conditorei. (A Conditorei is a combination pastry shop, chocolate shop and cafĂ©.) By the end of his three year apprenticeship, Fritz could make all the sweet delights found in a Swiss Conditorei, from chocolates and pastries to cakes and ice cream. In 1958 Fritz immigrated to the United States. He made his way to Marietta, Ohio in response to an ad for a Swiss-trained chocolatier placed by Ohio dairy company Broughton’s. The dairy’s owner, Carl Broughton, wanted to offer fine European chocolates and pastries in his chain of ice cream shops. Although the plan to offer Swiss chocolates and pastries at the ice cream shops was not successful, Fritz would work for Broughton’s for the next 25 years in various capacities. All the while he continued to make chocolates for friends and neighbors every Christmas and Easter. In 1986 Fritz retired from Broughton’s, but he wasn’t ready to slow down yet. Friends encouraged him to return to his original training, and in April of 1986, Holl’s Chocolates was born in the founder’s kitchen. A local wine shop was Fritz’s first customer. Only eight months after the business started, the wine shop sold over 400 pounds of Holl’s chocolates. As a result of this demand, the Holl family kitchen became a chocolate factory, much to the dismay of Fritz’s wife Elisabeth. The Holls decided to make a go of the business and invest in a “real” location. They moved to a small storefront about 10 miles away in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The entire space, which housed both the production and the selling areas, was about 600 square feet. The store was located on a steep hill just off of a fairly busy street and had only enough parking for four cars. Despite these obstacles, people went out of their way to visit the little chocolate shop just to try Fritz’s chocolates. It was in the shop that Elisabeth’s skills were put to use. As a young woman, she had worked at one of the finest florist shops in Zurich. The shop’s elite clientele expected an exceptional level of personal service. Clerks were expected to greet their customers by name and to know their favorite flowers and their spouse’s favorite flowers. When a customer entered the chocolate shop, Elisabeth would greet them by name and have a sample of their favorite chocolate ready. This special attention, and the superior taste of Fritz’s chocolates, made a trip to Holl’s Chocolates an experience people were eager to tell their friends about. As word of mouth brought more business, Fritz’s retirement hobby became a full-time job that required more room and more staff. In 1990, Holl’s Chocolates moved to its current location in Vienna, West Virginia. As the store grew busier, Fritz’s son Dominique joined the family business and learned the craft of chocolate making just the way his father had 50 years earlier. Under the younger generation’s guidance, Holl’s began to adapt their processes to blend the best of the old ways with the best new methods in order to keep up with growing demand. Today, Dominique and his wife Michelle continue to adhere to the quality standards set by Fritz and the service standards set by Elisabeth. After all these years, we are still committed to staying a small, focused company that does one thing well: making traditional, authentic, Swiss chocolates of the finest quality.

Holl's Chocolates

DeFluri's Fine Chocolates
DeFluri’s Fine Chocolates opened its doors in 1985 in Vienna, Va. as both a bakery and maker of fine chocolates. In 1998, we moved our factory and showroom to the heart of historic downtown Martinsburg, West Virginia, where we focus entirely on our passion for making chocolates. We are a family operation that’s owned, loved, and tended daily by veteran chocolatiers Brenda and Charlie Casabona. Using pure, quality ingredients in time-perfected recipes, our confections are made on the premises using traditional artisan candymaking techniques. DeFluri’s Chocolates are sold in our retail store and other fine food shops in the continental United States. A selection of these fine chocolates is also available from our online store. Kitchen: DeFluri’s 12,000 square-foot factory in Martinsburg, West Virginia, fills an expansive 30’s-era building that once housed a McCroy’s Five & Dime store. Today the main factory floor houses the vast array of Charlie Casabona’s chocolate-making equipment. Massive mixers swirl vats of creamy chocolate. Finely calibrated conveyer belts cover DeFluri’s famous truffles, classic caramels and nuts, fruit cakes from a local monastary, and much more—with velvety, rich coats of chocolate. An antique foil–wrapping machine puts shiny colored foils on selected finished chocolates. Walk-in refrigerated rooms keep the final products and their ingredients at optimum cool temperatures. The work done to renovate the building from a retail store into a chocolate kitchen is an example of adaptive reuse of an existing historic structure. The downtowns of yesteryear become the chic hot spots of tomorrow through a positive outlook on using what is available and having the vision to see the potential of an old building. As more and more of spots such as Martinsburg are discovered by a generation of people who grew up in suburban enclaves of strip centers and with the need of having to drive everywhere to acquire goods and services, the future of the historic downtown area seems very bright to us. Our Candy: At DeFluri’s, we choose our ingredients with care, perfect our recipes over time, and make all of our chocolates with a loving, personal touch. We use pure and natural ingredients in recipes that have been honed by decades of chocolate making. We blend a wide variety of fresh ingredients and flavors, to create both the classic favorites you’ve loved since you were a kid, and innovative new delicacies, such as award-winning wine truffles and other spirited delights. We don’t use instant mixes, reconstituted cream powders and other time saving (but quality compromising) ingredients. Instead, we use fresh whipping cream, real butter, and cook our centers from scratch. It takes longer, and is more labor intensive, but the difference is readily apparent once you taste our chocolates. Unlike chocolates produced by many large manufacturers, DeFluri’s chocolates are each crafted, decorated, and inspected by individual chocolate makers.

DeFluris Chocolates

Appalachian Chocolate Company
Appalachian Chocolate Company was founded in August 2015 as a small, one-man shop producing about 10 bars a week. The chocolate was made from “Nacional” beans grown in the Arriba zone of Ecuador. This area of Ecuador is known for producing a very special, fragrant profile. Slowly, selecting the best beans, a few other regions were added to the selection, while keeping each bar single origin. The beans are Rainforest Alliance certified and fairly traded. The carefully selected beans are roasted, ground, and poured with love to become the smoothest, most delectable chocolates. Appalachian Chocolate Company quickly grew into a local business, producing a variety of products ranging from classic dark and milk chocolate to local coffee-infused bars. In September 2020 the original founder, Jack, sold the company, along with all of his wonderful chocolate secrets, to The Black Dog Coffee Company. We have since added the chocolate roastery to our coffee roastery and have the most dedicated staff continuing to roast and carefully produce chocolates in small batches to ensure the best possible quality.

Appalachian Chocolate Co

EH Chocolates
Chef Eric: I was born on October 31, 1985 in Winchester, VA and grew up on a farm in Kirby, West Virginia. My mother is from Hornberg Germany and my dad is from Kirby, where my family still lives. My granddad taught me many things about country life in WV. Today, Dad teaches me aspects of country life that I missed while living in Europe. When home in West Virginia I spend a great deal of time outdoors. There are always many farm chores: doing yard work, building fence, feeding cows, hauling and splitting wood, mowing and making hay, gardening and canning, just to name a few. One of my favorite hobbies is hunting. My grandmother always has something cooking and she definitely taught me a lot about good home cooking and country style food. That’s where a lot of my creations and dishes started. Mixing together ingredients to inspire new flavors, designs and textures were all things that I noted to make a twist on many foods. High School did not provide all the Food classes during my attendance, but I made the best of what I could get. Sweets, from pastries, chocolates and desserts became a big passion for me. Just hearing the positive feedback on these creations was a positive boost of self-esteem. After graduating High School in 2003, I moved to Baden-Baden, Germany and started a three year apprenticeship to obtain my Culinary Arts Degree. Working with Swiss Chocolate alongside a French Pastry Chef at the Kurhaus Firm/ Confiserie Rumpelmayer, became the new ground rule. There, I had the opportunity to work with many international guests. Whether it was providing snacks at a timed basis for meetings, to a lunch banquet for 2,400 people or providing a gala dinner consisting of a 7-course meal--these were just some of the challenges. I got the chance to provide in dessert preparation for the “German Athlete of the Year” event, which is hosted annually and the best German athlete is awarded. The most interesting event was the 25th Anniversary of the Ferrari Club. More than 200 Ferrari’s, new and old were on display on the front lawn. After three successful years and successfully passing the rigorous German State Certification Exam it was time to broaden my education and start my Chef apprenticeship. In 2006 I started my Chef apprenticeship at the Brenners-Park Hotel & SPA in Baden-Baden, Germany. The entry level to what I became interested in years ago has now arrived, but at a much higher level. Being in a professional kitchen with Master Chefs and a two Michelin Star Gourmet Chef can be described as a pot of opportunities. Preparing a Cheeseburger for First Lady Michelle Obama could be considered the highlight, but serving many German stars as well as the German Chancellor breakfast from the Live-cooking station was just as important. I quickly learned any person in a 5+ Star Hotel is special and you go the extra mile with everything you do. Hosting events such as the G8 summit, German Media Prize Award, Oetker Hotel Management Company conventions and private celebrations and catered events I learned skill is only a part of the job. Managing, calculating and timing are other very important aspects along with courtesy, etiquette and professionalism. After three strenuous years, I completed another very rigorous German State Certification Exam where I was asked to prepare a 3-course meal within 4 hours and later serve appropriately. Once my training time was over, it was time to be a part of the real work force. This, however, was not different since I had already been working in numerous kitchens. The big advantage of completing a German apprenticeship is being in a live kitchen setting instead of a classroom setting where after 4 years of schooling I would finally see a real kitchen. The Brenners-Park Hotel needed my help. My opportunity to run the Patisserie, also known as the Pastry department, had arrived. Creating a program to satisfy all and train staff to do what was required by them was a bit of a challenge at times, but even that soon fell into place. Seeking a management plan of upcoming events, orders, and organization were a few of many tasks that I took on during this time. I had the advantage of working for the hotel before; therefore, I knew the routine and expectations desired. A Leading Hotel of the World has standards that have to be met and exercised to honor the title. Therefore, the staff had to be coached regularly and supervised. Two years later I was seeking newer challenges and tasks. In 2011 I started at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, in Bad Ragaz Switzerland. A new environment and specialties and lots of chocolate were perfect. I was in charge of preparing nutritional meals for the Borussia Dortmund soccer team as well as being able to work alongside the Food Coaches of the Swiss Olympic Teams. Chocolate was the biggest task. I had previously worked a lot with chocolate, but in Switzerland everything revolves around chocolate. Different types of chocolate products were produced along with new creations I invented with my American background. I had the opportunity to create showpieces for buffets as well as welcome platters for hotel rooms. Events, such as A la Carte desserts, dessert buffets for 250+ people and management of the workforce became routine tasks. After two years, it was time to journey my way back to my roots. Ten years in Europe provided me with so much experience and wisdom. I spent last summer creating and designing recipes while enjoying the task of gardening to processing the produce. I call it back to the roots, literally. Nature provides a lot, it is a matter of what is made and done with it. In the meantime I am now an owner of a small business called EH Chocolates & Confections.I have put my chocolate creations into many different taste assortments in truffle form. I enjoy the aspect of allowing locals to experience chocolate at a gourmet level. I use Swiss chocolate exclusively; therefore, it has its own standard for quality. The positive feedback is comforting and shows that clients enjoy my products as much as I do making them.

EH Chocolates

Kevbot
Kevin - or Kevbot - believes in making chocolate work better for you, and for all those who help create it. Along the way he learned about Uncommon Cacao, and saw a partner in guaranteeing you know the impact of your chocolate. Kevbot Chocolate delivers a unique, delicious bean-to-bar chocolate experience straight to you - with care for all the lives it touches. Straight from the Source  - Kevbot Chocolate sources its delicious cacao beans from within the Uncommon Cacao transparent trade network, focusing on unique origins with each batch.  Your purchases empower sustainable, equitable futures for the people and places that produce your chocolate. Truly.

Kevbot

Holly Lane Chocolate
Holly Lane Chocolate was founded by two brothers born and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia. We have a passion for excellent products, and our mission is to create chocolates that are exciting, enjoyable, and benefit the local economy. Our products are available exclusively in West Virginia at this time, but we're working to expand in the near future.

Wine & Shine chocolate festival

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