The Chocolate Life

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Startup Central

Are you looking to start a chocolate business? Want to talk to others who've been there or done that - or have you been there and done it and want to share with others? This is the place to discuss it.

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Members: 664
Latest Activity: 9 hours ago

Startup Central

Do you make great chocolates? Know everything there is to know about tempering chocolate and cooking the perfect caramel? Able to turn out thousands of finished chocolates without blinking any eye?

Does the thought of using Quickbooks or writing a business plan sends you screaming into the walk-in begging for mercy?

This group is for you. When you join, please introduce yourself to the group in a comment on this page. Yes, I know you have a profile page, but it would be great to have you add a few words about you and your business in the context of this group. If you have a website, feel free to post a link to it. Please don't post a link to your profile page, people can just click on your profile photo to visit that.

PS. Below is the full picture I used for the Group photo. It's a chocolate store/cafe in Mexico. Those are stone mills (the kind Taza uses) to the right of the guy with his back to you in the blue shirt and notice that they are selling beans. The stone mills suggest that this store is located in Oaxaca.

Discussion Forum

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Comment by David Senk on May 29, 2012 at 3:49pm

Hi All, I'm David Senk. My wife Leslie and I are in the process of launching a small web-based chocolate business called "Crystal Structure Five" that will sell fine chocolate (some that we buy, some that we make) and artisan vegan confections, including a line of biscotti that we've developed. We're going through all of the learning process that I'm sure many others on this forum are all to familiar with -- having fun, drinking from a firehose, trying not to make any mistakes that are too terribly big...did we mention having fun? We look forward to sharing with and learing from all of you!

Comment by Rex Victor Puentespina on May 27, 2012 at 6:27am

Hi, I am Rex Puentespina.  Our family owns a cacao plantation in Malagos, Calinan, Davao City, Philippines.  The past four years,  we have exporting our beans together with the production of other farmers  in the region.  We want to further process our beans to add more value to our product.  We intend to make cocoa liquor/couverture to market it pastry chefs, bakers & chocolatiers in the country.  I am in charge of sales & marketing  and currently working on our business plan. With the information and help from this group, I look forward to successful business venture into the world of chocolates. Mabuhay!

Comment by Chris Brennan on May 7, 2012 at 1:39pm

Hello. I am Chris Brennan. Own and operate a Bakery specialising in high end breads and pastry in the UK and in the process of adding chocolate to our operation.


Comment by Dione Costanzo on April 9, 2012 at 2:17pm

Hi everyone.  Looking for options for chocolate bar (& bark) packaging. Wrap or box any experience and/or opinions?

Thank you!

Comment by Andrew Montroy on March 14, 2012 at 12:03pm

I just made my first blog entry! Check it out!

Comment by Andrew Montroy on March 14, 2012 at 10:58am

Hey Startup Central. My name is Andrew Montroy. I live in Raleigh NC. I want to follow my dream of starting a Chocolate Cafe. I have never owned my own business before, so the task is very daunting and exciting at the same time. All and any input is welcomed. I am going to start a blog documenting my process, so please comment on it anytime you want. Thanks and I look forward to building a relationship with the group!

Comment by Loretta on February 21, 2012 at 6:16am

Hi everyone!

I'm from Rome in Italy (but I live in a neighbouring village). I started do home chocolates in 2004, since I attended two professional courses at Castalimenti in Brescia, with the extraordinary Man and Master Eliseo Tonti. I sell them just twice a year and my customers have been constantly increasing, together with my chocolate passion.

Now I'm working to open an ecological chocolate workshop even if in Italy is very difficult change work. This is my goal for the near future!

I'm very glad to join this community. Thanks all!


Comment by Kathryn James on February 17, 2012 at 10:14am

Hi everyone!

I'm brand new to working with chocolate.  I'd actually never tempered before December 31...I was determined to start the new year doing something I'd never done before, so I made truffles.  This snowballed into realizing that someone had to eat all those truffles if I wanted to make more and experiment with new flavors.  Then I thought it might be nice if I could sell the truffles so that I'd have money to buy more chocolate with.  Now here we are, less than 2 months into the year and I find myself running a business...not that I know how to run a business!  I've been an administrative professional in the construction field, a customer service agent in a call center, a licensed counselor, a non-profit program manager, and I'm also an actress and a musician, so I know little bits about how all those businesses operate, but I've never had to pull it all together and do it for a business of my own.  Thankfully, Arizona allows me to make confections out of my home kitchen and I've found a farmers market craft fair that doesn't require the $1M liability insurance and an up-front fee to reserve a space that most places do around here.  Selling at the craft fair is helping me build some buzz, and my local friends have been very supportive.  I've registered the business with the state and I have all my health department stuff squared away, but every time I turn around there's something new I haven't considered--insurance (still waiting on quotes), taxes (it takes 4 weeks for them to process the form by mail?!), a business checking account (to open with what money?), a business plan (wait, you mean beyond, "I think I'll do those vanilla truffles again, people really responded well to those"?) ... I'm constantly feeling like I went about this all wrong, but I just can't stop!  I'm determined to make this work.

I've named the business "Sweets by 5ftLatina" and I have a website at that's still under construction and a Facebook page at that has most of my info and pictures etc.

I'm really looking forward to being a part of this community and so glad I found others I can have discussions with who share my passion!


Kathryn James

Comment by Donna Slepicka on February 15, 2012 at 11:13am

Hi Everyone,

I am a mother of two, with my first child(and only daughter) off to college, I recently decided to take my passion for chocolate and open a small retail space with a production kitchen in my home town.

I have been renting a certified kitchen but cost is becaming too high.  I started my business as home based and attended a lot of shows and charity events to sell.  My following has grown and I now have a number of corporate clients and events who order regularly.

I am hoping to open my space in late spring 2012. My backround is in marketing and accounting, but I am rusty on the accounting side.

I have refered to the Chocolate Life for information, inspiration and I love the classifieds.

I do have a website: for info and visuals only.

I am on Facebook, a regular Constant Contact newletter user, have a brief Utube video(link through my website) and can be reached at

Thanks and keep posting-I love it!

Donna Fantetti-Slepicka

Comment by Ancel Mitchell on December 26, 2011 at 1:23pm
Hi all,
I live on a permaculture farm on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, the farm was a cacao plantation before. The last two decades have been dedicated to raising tropical fruits and spices, but we have become increasingly interested in working our cacao. Our trees are matina forestero, and we're planting trinitario now. Up until recently we have been using our cacao for products we sell at our local farmers market, and having bars made with our cacao and vanilla by a local producer. Now we are very excited to be trying our hand at the production! We're waiting for our melanger to get through customs :) have many questions and queries and am so grateful for this forum and website! Our farm, Finca la Isla, can be seen here:

Thanks! Best wishes for a chocolate coated 2012!

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