When husband and wife duo, Victoria Shearer and Jeremy Dowdall, created Victoria’s Chocolates, they were looking to bring a bit of whimsy to people’s lives. From the look and taste of their chocolate truffles to the exotic flavors and playful store interior, they have created a delightful experience for both the consumer and the buyer. We spoke with Victoria to find out more.
Victoria’s Chocolates is obviously named after you, but there also seems to be a rabbit theme going on inside the store and with your marketing. Are rabbits significant to you?
Well, we initially started playing with the “Victorian” era theme. We came up with a cameo idea and then we added the rabbit to make it playful. We have pet rabbits, and I believe rabbits really bring a lot of whimsy to people.
Behind you is a framed painting of a rabbit in a Victorian dress…
That's our pet rabbit Melinda! She is our little bunny muse! That painting was done by a local artist. I took Melinda's portrait to her, she put it on her computer and merged it with a painting she found online. Then she digitally printed it on canvas and then hand painted over it.
This is your first brick and mortar store, correct?
Yes. Before we opened here, we did farmers' markets and craft fairs. One of the farmers’ markets we did was the one here in Cherry Creek. That's how we were able to find and know this would be the right spot for us. During the summer it was kind of a nightmare to have to keep everything cold while we were standing in 90º heat. Being here is much easier.
Cherry Sprite, Guinness, Strawberry Balsamic…you guys offer so many unique flavors. Where do you find your inspiration for your flavors?
Sometimes, like with Strawberry Balsamic, that was a customer suggestion. The crazier ones, like the Cherry Sprite and the Creamsicle are my husband, Jeremy. He thinks of stuff he ate when he was a kid. He’ll say, "yeah, I remember chasing down the ice cream truck to get those creamsicles in the summer. I want you to make that." As for the Guinness, that was me being nostalgic. I still remember the first time my two older brothers took me out for a "real beer" which was a Guinness.
How does someone know what flavor they’re eating before they take a bite?
We have pictures on our website with the names. If somebody requests it, we'll write it down on a card that goes inside the box. We’re working on having QR codes in each box so people can scan the QR code, go to our website and see what it is. They will also be able to keep track of what they bought. And we'll be able to look it up for them.
Each chocolate is a little work of art. How do you make them look like this?
The shine comes from the colored cocoa butter polishing the molds. The high quality of chocolate, it's a big combination of things and it does take a lot of work to get them to look like that. Typically, it takes three days to make them. Painting the molds, making the shells, filling the shells…it’s a process.
Some of these even look like they’re painted with gold leaf…
That is gold leaf! You have to buy the right kind because it has to be the edible kind. Some have completely different flavors, too. That gold leaf is painted on our Blackberry Lavender chocolate, which is our most popular flavor. We brought that out at the beginning of the summer and it is selling like crazy.
Your packaging is unique too. Can you describe it for our readers?
We go to great lengths to make sure that the packaging is just as beautiful as the chocolates. We package everything in these little black boxes with gold foil printed on them. Some of our higher-end, larger boxes are all handmade. My husband Jeremy makes them by hand. In our smaller boxes Jeremy makes the pad topper. It was a big deal to us that the chocolates not slide around in the box. The box company can't make these, because they’re too delicate.
You and Jeremy seem to bring a variety of complementary strengths to Victoria’s Chocolates.
We do. I have an art background. I went on to culinary school and then I taught at that school. I've been cooking my whole life. When we were sitting around talking about what we wanted to do, we knew it was going to be something food-oriented, but we also wanted it to be something we could actually sell…and something that makes people happy. Jeremy has an engineering background, and is very process-oriented. He came up with a lot of the processes that I follow to help make the chocolates. He knows consistency is critical. I guess you could say the marriage of art, science and chocolate seemed like the perfect business for us!
2615 East 3rd Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
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