INTERVIEW: Shocolaate’s Chocolatier Cristina Vives
Hello Chocoholics! I want to share with you a very unique mother-daughter Chocolate company by the name of Shocolaate.
I’ve been following Shocolaate for a few months on Facebook and Twitter and have exchanged a few comments with the very “sweet” owners, Cristina Vives – head Chocolatier, and Diana Pace – creative designer and mother of Cristina. I absolutely love these ladies. Not only are their handmade truffles, Chocolate covered Oreos and hand-dipped pretzels pure artistry, they are also the most friendly and sincere gals you’ll meet. Honest!
Shocolaate is a mother-daughter team who is truly passionate about the art of Chocolate making. Shocolaate (Show-ko-latt) specializes in unique, freshly made truffles and Chocolate treats. They use the highest quality CACAO BARRY Chocolate to ensure a smooth texture and sensational taste, producing delectable, elegant Chocolates for any occasion. CACAO BARRY is renowned for its vision of the Chocolate-maker’s craft as an art form leading to the production and sale of the finest grade Chocolate in the world.
Cristina and Diana have mastered the art of handmade chocolates. Rich Belgian Chocolate is melted down into a smooth consistency. Heavy cream is added and liqueur upon your request, to make the ganache in their truffles tastes its best! Once the rich ganache is set, they hand-roll the truffles and dip them into even more Chocolate, creating a lovely shell around the ganache. The truffles then take on their unique personalities as they are covered in Chocolate shavings, cocoa or nuts and decorated with pearls and other lovely adornments.
Sweet symphonies of Chocolate fused with favorite crunches, these treats are available by the singles or bunches!
An Interview with Cristina Vives
Laura: Were you formally trained in the art of working with Chocolate?
Cristina: Yes, I attended Florida Culinary Institute. After that I went to work at Maralago which is Donald Trump‘s private country club here in Palm Beach. I worked in the Pastry Shop (not exclusively with Chocolate) making desserts and sweets. It was great experience, but having long hours and NO social life or time for anything else except my job was not something that I wanted to do (unless it was mine). It was then that I decided I wanted to open my own business.
Laura: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a chocolatier or work mainly with Chocolate?
Cristina: I have always been a big fan of Chocolate, so naturally when I was in culinary school and Chocolate quarter came around, I was very interested. Granted, I was probably one of the messiest students in the entire class. I would leave the kitchen looking like I jumped in a pool of Chocolate! As time progressed, I started sharpening my skills. I went to Costco one day and bought all the ingredients for making truffles and started making them at home. I tested them on my family and friends, before I knew it my mom was helping me out and we were ordering from Chocolate distributors and ordering the good stuff from Belgium. Next came our social media. First we opened our Facebook page, there you can still see all of the amateur photos that we took in the beginning. Next came twitter, then a blog and finally our professional E-commerce website Shocolaate.com. Our anniversary is Valentines day 2010. That was the first day I actually started selling to friends and family through Facebook. Mom stepped in and started helping with the creating and design aspect of all the collections and the packaging. She designs all the packaging. We chose turquoise and chocolate brown as they are my favorite colors and when paired together were striking to me and elegant.
Laura: How would you describe the product line your company offers?
Cristina: My mom and I are both passionate about what we do. All of our Chocolate is from Belgium and of the highest quality Cacao Barry products. The assortment of truffles we offer range from a white chocolate truffle filled with champagne and strawberry ganache topped with candied grapefruit all the way to a fusion of red chili, ginger & cardamon ganache in a milk chocolate shell topped with 24 ct gold. Our products are fresh, made to order and rolled by hand. Some truffles are then covered in chocolate shavings, cocoa or nuts and decorated with pearls and other lovely adornments.As with everything we do, it’s all about simple flavors and the highest quality ingredients. We offer Artisan Truffles, Oreos, Pretzels. Another big part of our business is our variety of collections. Throughout the collections you will see that there is something for everyone. For instance, the bridal collection for weddings or showers, the Rainbow Collection for the kid inside all of us, its an eclectic whimsical collection full of vibrant colors and flavors. From Bridal to Rainbow, every piece you get is luxurious chocolate that melts in your mouth. There are no waxy coatings and no preservatives. We customize and can make just about any kind of mold as long as we have notice! Shocolaate is elegant and fun at the same time!
Laura: What is your best selling product and what is your personal favorite?
Cristina: Our Bridal Collection and assorted truffle boxes are the best selling. My personal favorite (Cristina) The Orange Blossom Truffle (dark Chocolate) with a ganache of dark Chocolate and Grand Marnier topped with a candied tangerine. My mom’s favorite is the The Star of India Milk Chocolate with a fusion of red chili, ginger and cardamon ganache adorned with 24ct gold.
Laura: Up to now, what has been the greatest highlight of your chocolate career?
Cristina: The possibility of being on cable television at some point in the near future! We are keeping our fingers crossed.
Laura: What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in your chocolate career?
Cristina: Well, I have a lot to learn that is for sure!! I am 22-years-old and everyday is a learning process for me! The most difficult task thus far has been the challenge of branding our products and making our ideas into a reality.
Laura: What does a typical day consist of in the life of a Chocolatier?
Cristina: We are busy, busy! We have to stay organized as there are always exciting things happening at Shocolaate! Always, we plan our days accordingly as we are an e-commerce company. We fill the orders and everything is made fresh daily. We also do custom orders so things change daily. We always make sure our local shops are supplied. Marketing and social media also keeps us really busy. In addition to order fulfillment, Shocolaate also participates in volunteer projects.
Laura: Do you work with Chocolate every day?
Cristina: YES!!! If I’m not replying to my Blackberry messages it’s probably because I’m covered in chocolate. And if I’m not physically working with it then we are planning for the next step or the next order or marketing or promoting, so it’s just a process. I dream in chocolate! Its always on my mind.
Laura: If you weren’t working with chocolate, what would you be doing?
Cristina: I would still be involved in the culinary world somehow. I really love food writing and blogging about fun dishes.
Laura: What is next for you and for your company?
Cristina: Well, as soon as our product gains more nationwide exposure, there will be more interest in Shocolaate. This will put us in a better position to help others. Our publicist (Mary Winkenwerder) has been working tirelessly to get us in the public eye! My mom (Diana Pace) and her work very closely to ensure that Shocolaate gets the proper exposure. The next step is to find more Shocolaate elves. Eventually, I am hoping that Shocolaate will become a brand that everyone knows and loves.
Laura: I want to thank you, Cristina and Diana, for taking time out of your busy and Chocolaty schedule to do this interview with me. I would like to check back with you ladies one year from now to see how successful you’ve become. I predict great things for Shocolaate! 🙂