The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!


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: 663
Latest Activity: 28 minutes 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

temper environments 30 C?

Started by mariano garcia. Last reply by mariano garcia 28 minutes ago. 4 Replies

Chocolate Grating

Started by Dale Anderson. Last reply by Liz Nov 6. 6 Replies

Rotisserie Oven for Roasting

Started by Paul Picton. Last reply by Delcour Thomas Oct 17. 16 Replies

Sourcing Cacao Beans - Small Scale

Started by Eric Conceicao. Last reply by Eric Conceicao Oct 13. 5 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Startup Central to add comments!

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!
Comment by Suzie Hoban on November 16, 2011 at 4:14pm

Hi All, I'm another soon-to-be-graduate of Ecole Chocolate. I'm planning to set up a business in Bogota, Colombia. Chocolate as a drink is very popular here but chocolate as a gourmet food is relatively novel. My plan is to transform the "maid's room" in my apartment into a small chocolate workshop and build from there. 

Happy to meet everyone.




Comment by Kim Darling on November 10, 2011 at 10:27am


I've been reading a learning from this group for about 3 months now.  I'm just about finished with ecolechocolat chocolatier course and am looking forward to starting and building a small chocolatier business in the town I'm now living in.  



Comment by sinclair pinto on November 9, 2011 at 8:26pm


This is my first group enrollment. I have worked since the last 9 years for several michelin chefs in london and USA. I am currently in San Francisco and am interested in all things chocolate. 

Hope this is an adequate introduction.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Comment by Mann Made Chocolate on October 26, 2011 at 11:51pm

I hate to take up anyone's time, but since Clay invited us to say hello,  I'll say "Hi" to the group.

I am a very small volume, client-only artisan chocolatier (i.e., still have a day job). I've been at this for about 8 years, and have built up a substantial fan base of customers, but do not consider myself a retail enterprise.  I am passionate about the art and craft and, frankly, the science, which to science-nerds like me is amazing.

I won't pretend I fully understand why people tell me they love my creations. (No, not just friends and family.)  Maybe it's because so many people have never had truly fresh chocolates before the subtle volatiles have dissipated. Maybe it's because I use time-consuming "old style" methods.  Maybe it's because of the secret ingredients I've learned to add or maybe because I put my customers' money into high quality ingredients, not packaging, keeping my prices reasonable.  Or maybe it's just because they just think it's funny that a medical doctor makes chocolates.  I don't know.  But, it's hard to argue with the feedback I get, and while I'm trying to keep this a truly small, artisan activity, if the demand increases, I may enter the commercial world, and if I do, I'm sure I'll be totally clueless on the legalities, regulations, etc.  I hope to read the wisdom of others (and The Chocolate Life is great for wisdom!) as I explore "what's next."

Thank you for listening and best of luck to all who work with this amazing substance.

-Bruce A. Mann, Chief Chocolate Officer, Mann Made Chocolate

PS: if you're one of those Facebook types, we're on The real website is "under construction" at

Comment by Bethany Garland on October 11, 2011 at 11:29am

Hi, I'm in the process of starting a small chocolate company in California that focuses on cake toppers, center pieces and small scale show pieces. I have been a passionate chocolate lover since 2004, having discovered my true calling in life while in culinary school. I have worked with artisan chocolate companies in the past, but now I'm excited to start my own.   I'm very grateful to have discovered The Chocolate Life and this forum.

Comment by Clay Gordon on September 29, 2011 at 9:40am
Emily - there are a bunch of threads about airbrushing and molds decoration in the main discussions on the home page. You can use the Google search box in the middle of the page to locate them (search for Airbrush). These "Allow Me to Introduce Myself" comments to the group is not the place to start a technical discussion for many reasons. If you don't find the answers you're looking for, please start a new discussion in the main discussion forum in the category "Tips, Tricks, and Techniques."
Comment by Emily Woloszyn on September 28, 2011 at 9:52pm


Has anyone here use an air brush with cocobutter  before molding their truffles? I did 8 molds the other day. 5 came out... the other 3 were eeww bloom. So does anyone have thoughts or comments? I cannot figure out what the problem is.


Do you know of somewhere to get lessons on air brushing chocolate?

Thanks in adavance for any suggestions....


Comment by Mim on September 18, 2011 at 2:33am

Hi everyone! I'm very excited about this group. I'm a retired graphic designer, and now dedicate most of my time to my first love 'painting' (chocolate a close 2nd). I've been wanting to start a small chocolate business for local markets first, for over a year now,  after treating myself to a fabulous short course at the Ritz Escoffier school in Paris.

I've dabbled in making delicious truffles, and dipping home made candied oranges and sour cherries grown on our farm. I'm looking to do something with the tons of figs, quinces and other fruit which we subject our uncomplaining friends to, every year. However, there is always something that gets in the way, namely 'procrastination' and stuff like 'safe food handling certificate', 'public liability insurance', the really hot chocolate unfriendly weather we have in Australia at Christmas (chocolate season!) etc, etc...

I am really enjoying reading some of the the info on the transfer sheets! Would love to put my own designs and logo on my chocolates!...

I am sure that being part of this group, will inspire me to make the big step.


Comment by Beth Husband on August 27, 2011 at 11:25pm

Hi guys!

I just posted this same intro in the "Allow Me to Introduce Myself" forum, before finding this group, so please forgive if you come across it twice.

I've been a member for some time, but as more of an observer than participant. As I'm considering jumping into the deep end of chocolate pool, I think it's time to introduce myself and start participating.


I am the owner of Whimzy Chocolates, which I operated for several years out of kitchen incubator in the suburbs of Houston, TX.  I sold primarily at weekend arts and craft markets and through special orders. My products line is largely made up of what I call "familu favorites", caramel pecan clusters, caramel apples, various barks, lots of chocolate covered tasties, and hand rolled truffles. I managed to develop somewhat of a following and frequent sold out of products before the end of an event. 

Unfortunately, just after my husband and I made the decision to relocate out of state, I recieved three different requests to wholesale, one of which was from a major national department store.


It's a year later, I'm happily settled just outside of Nashville, TN and the chocolates are calling me. I am strongly considering resurrecting the business, but on a larger scale, with the goal of renting a location and building out my own commercial kitchen. My initial targeted market would be a few coveted wholesale accounts, special event orders, and the weekend markets, with an eventual growth to a retail chocolate boutique.


I welcome any words of wisdom or caution, and would love the input of those who have gone down this road before me. I'm in the processing of identifying the costs involved and my question of the moment is "what do  I need, that I don't know I need?"


My primary big piece of specialized equipment has always been the tempering machines. Is there another, chocolate specific piece of equipment that has improved your production time and makes life easier?





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