For the Love of Chocolate, Meet 3 Artisan Chocolate Makers

Artisan Chocolate Makers

We all know that chocolate comes from cacao…but when it comes to artisanal chocolate, that’s often the only common ground. Artisan Chocolate makers are going in all different directions with the sweet indulgence. Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. And the industry is filled with companies trying to quickly get more and more of it to us. Which is why when you find companies going at a slightly slower (but still efficient) pace; companies searching for (and using) quality ingredients and small-batch methods, you can almost taste it! You can taste the time and effort that went into that dark, velvety portion of deliciousness. It’s almost sexy, right? So, with Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s highlight three Artisan Chocolatiers creating some exquisite chocolate.

Lulu’s Chocolate

Lulu’s claims to be “Chocolate for the mind, body, and soul.” Sounds delicious and intriguing…and very Sedona-esque, so it’s no surprise this is where they are located. Lulu’s chocolates are (ready for it?) raw, vegan, organic, fair-trade, gluten-free and made with low-glycemic coconut sugar. The chocolate goodies are handcrafted in small batches and wrapped in environmentally-friendly packaging. (Recycled paper with soy and veggie ink for the designs – even the inside foil wrapper is made from 100% compostable Natureflex.) You can find Lulu’s chocolates at ChocolaTree in Sedona or via their own website (luluschocolate.com), and now also at MANY stores across the nation including Whole Foods. (See the complete list on the website.)

Chocofin Chocolatier

Chocolatiers Louis and Denise Mirabella have been providing several resorts in Scottsdale with their handmade chocolates since 1998. Their chocolates are made in small batches with high quality European chocolate, fresh cream & butter. In 2001, they opened their first retail shop in Fountain Hills, Arizona. The positive response led to growth for Chocofin, and they moved to a larger location in 2004 (also in Fountain Hills) where they still make everything (including their nut barks and toffee) from scratch. Visit the shop to see them work and try their treats – and even have a cup of coffee. Bonus: they also serve Berto’s Gourmet Gelato and Sorbet at the shop. www.chocofin.com

Julia Baker

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Julia Baker didn’t start out doing what she’s doing now. During a successful (yet unfulfilling) career in business, Julia was exposed to world-class food, wine, and desserts. Delicious chocolate became her passion. She moved to Paris and attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts where she graduated first in her class. In 2006, Julia founded “Julia Baker Confections” and began creating luxury chocolates, custom cakes and desserts. Her creations quickly received celebrity attention – Alicia Keyes, Bono, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Aniston are fans! She now has a chocolate and wine boutique at Biltmore Fashion Park (Julia Baker Sweet Experience) and her own TV show called “Sweet Julia” on the Cooking Channel. Check it out, to gain an understanding the fancier side of chocolate. juliabaker.com

By the way: What’s LOVE Got To Do With Chocolate?

Is chocolate really an aphrodisiac? Well, science points to yes.
Chocolate (cacao) contains an endorphin called phenylethylamine, aka the “love chemical.” Levels of phenylethylamine in the brain have been linked to feelings of excitement, attraction, even pleasure and love. Apparently, the Aztecs were on to something. They often used chocolate as a gift and served it at wedding ceremonies. They believed it to be a source of spiritual wisdom, energy and higher sexual prowess. Do with that information as you will – and try some Arizona chocolate!

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Kristine has been researching, writing about, and enjoying beverages for years. A freelance writer, she's wife to one cool guy, and mom to another. She's an avid researcher, reader, hiker, texter, hat wearer and music listener. She lives in Phoenix with the aforementioned cool guys and all three love to explore restaurants and travel. She can be reached at krisgresh@yahoo.com

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