Your turn: Become a chocolatier

Your turn: Become a chocolatier
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Growing up, Robin Ciordia said, “I was the eater of the chocolate.” Now, she co-owns The Secret Chocolatier with her parents, Bill and Karen Dietz, and her husband, Andy Ciordia. At long last, she is a maker of chocolates, too.

The business began to take form in 2008. Bill, a longtime pastry chef, was working for the Sonoma Restaurant Group while also supplying truffles under the radar to a friend’s Rock Hill café—there, he was known as “the secret chocolatier.” Then, the economic downturn led the Dietzes to set up shop at local farmers markets. They tacked on a few wholesale accounts and the Ciordias started to add their time into the mix. Robin noted that not many people were hand-making chocolate in Charlotte at the time, so the family stood out sweetly. She said the best part of making chocolate is, “it’s something that you can have a few ingredients and do a lot of things with.”

Robin-Ciordia

But “a lot” became too much—they all juggled outside jobs. They had a family meeting and agreed it was either time to let it slide or to take a leap and open a shop. “We decided to go for it,” said Robin, who helped open their first family owned shop in 2011. “We knew we had the customers and the support and that really showed in the first few weeks. It was a home that we had built for ourselves.”

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Today, you can find The Secret Chocolatier in Cotswold and Ballantyne.

As for co-owning a business with her parents, Robin said, “It took a little learning. You think you know your parents, but then when you get into a business and see this whole other side of them—I had to relearn who they were.”

She also had to learn the art of chocolate making, which meant hours in the kitchen with her father. First, he taught her how to make chocolate-enrobed brownies (translation: brownies utterly coated in chocolate).

Springtime Brownie Pops!

A photo posted by The Secret Chocolatier (@secretchocolate) on


Now, Robin is helping turn the rest of Charlotte’s chocolate eaters into chocolate makers as well. This season’s beginner-level classes at both locations have ranged from hands-on creations to palate building, and have included bark making and wine pairing. “For us,” Robin said, “it’s neat and inspiring to see new people getting into what we do.”


And don’t worry, in case you think you’re an expert chocolate maker or baker, the family plans to increase the difficulty level of classes for returning students. “I like sharing a little bit of our world,” Robin said. “It’s that sense of making people happy. You’re giving them a moment of luxury and enjoyment.”

 

Logan bought his own graham cracker and took it outside to eat. ‘No dad. By myself.’

 

A photo posted by The Secret Chocolatier (@secretchocolate) on

Your upcoming chances to become a chocolatier:

Sunday, May 3
2 pm-4 pm
Cake Making & Decorating. Learn how to properly fill and layer cakes, frost outside, and enjoy an introduction to borders and decorations.
Cost: $125
2935 Providence Road, Suite 104

Friday, May 15
Mommy & Me Cake Making (a Mother’s Day special)
4 pm-6 pm
Cost: $190 for two people. Includes two aprons, a set of cake-making essentials and the cake made in class.
2935 Providence Road, Suite 104

Saturday, May 16
Mommy & Me Cake Making
2 pm-4 pm
Cost: $190 for two people. Includes two aprons, a set of cake-making essentials and the cake made in class.
11318 N. Community House Road

Photos courtesy of The Secret Chocolatier.

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