Erika Chavez-Graziano started her premium chocolate-making business in the back room of a coffee house a few years ago. Early this month, she opened a chic new retail store at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets, on the ground floor level of the Hilton Garden Inn. And soon she will be making her own chocolate from scratch at her production facility in the Butchertown Market on Story Ave.
In a recent interview in Insider Louisville, Chavez-Graziano described how her professional-level machines will roast fresh cacao beans, then husk them, chop them into nibs and then grind them into chocolate liquid to be used as “couverture,” the covering for her artfully fashioned and complexly flavored chocolate candies. The project has been in the works for about a year. She has installed the machinery in the space that was her short-lived breakfast and sandwich shop, Jackknife Café, behind a glass wall that will allow visitors to observe the whole process.
Cellar Door Chocolates has a variety of outlets for their chocolate creations, the newest being the elegant store downtown, in the empty space that has cried out for a cool new occupant since the hotel opened. The shop serves tea, hot chocolate, espresso and a variety of sweets.
The upscale chocolates will be labeled with country of origin of the beans, and the date the batch was made.
She also looks to sell the husks for making a chocolate “tea,” and for use in cosmetic procedures. The nibs, which are bitterly flavorful, have a faddish food value in themselves.