2820 Selwyn Ave., #160
Charlotte NC 28209
Twenty Degrees Chocolates is the culmination of years of dreaming, cooking, testing and tasting. I chose the company’s name – Twenty Degrees – to convey how precious I think chocolate is. The cacao tree only grows within twenty degrees north and south of the equator. It requires the proper climate, soil and shade for growth, and each tree’s yield is quite small. It’s no wonder chocolate has been so prized and celebrated by so many cultures for centuries!
I find chocolate fascinating. Delicious. Frustrating. Exciting. Seductive. Versatile. Complex. A passion for baking and an early mid-life epiphany compelled me to pastry school at 35. I discovered just how enthralling chocolate could be while studying at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris. There, chocolate wooed me and has held my passion ever since. I had the great fortune to study under Chef Nicolas Bernardé, recipient of the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) prize in pastry-confectionery. It was his intensity and passion – plus a visit to Paris’s Salon du Chocolat (and a chocolate fashion show!) – that inspired me to explore chocolate further. I was hooked.
Following pastry school, I earned a Professional Chocolatier certification from École Chocolat and worked in several San Francisco-area pastry kitchens, including Scharffen Berger chocolate’s Café Cacao. Though I was trained in France, I’m a North Carolina native and spent 15 years in the San Francisco area.
I take inspiration from movies, music and pop culture, my travels to Europe, Africa and the South Pacific plus the regional cuisines and cultures of the United States. I love food and cooking, and many of the flavors I enjoy in savory foods find their way into my confections. I feel blessed to be able to pursue my passion and create something that brings people pleasure.
Twenty Degrees Chocolates currently are available at retail through Petit Philippe – a wine and chocolate tasting room I opened with my husband, Mark, a ‘garage’ winemaker and passionate wine geek. Mark and I conceived of Petit Philippe a few days after my graduation from pastry school, and a few hours before he proposed to me! Now – seven years and two kids later – our dream has come to fruition. We hope you will pay us a visit and share in our appreciation for the transcendent power of honest, delicious, soulful food and wine. Bon appétit and Santé!
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