Founded by Chef Anne Shaeffer, Sulpice Chocolat is a Chicago-based artisan chocolate house specializing in the world’s FIRST designer, painted chocolate bars.
From their use of the finest truffle-quality chocolate to the unique flavor profiles created by their classically trained master chocolatier, Anne Shaeffer, Sulpice Chocolat does not compromise on quality. Each one of their chocolate creations is not only kosher, but is inspired by Anne’s days as a pastry chef where she would create unforgettable plated desserts. Ultimately, her passion for chocolate guided her decision to create astoundingly delicious chocolate bars accessible to everyone. Finally, no experience is complete without a striking visual component. By being the world’s first team to individually hand-paint each of our chocolate bars, Sulpice Chocolat elevates its sumptuous creations to an art form.
MO: Where does your passion for creating unique and elegant treats come from?
Anne: My passion for creating the flavors of Sulpice Chocolat comes from my days as a pastry chef. There was nothing as exciting as creating a dessert that people would immediately fall in love with. It was through this experience that I learned how to balance flavors and how to combine different herbs and spices to create perfectly balanced desserts. This knowledge transferred seamlessly to my creation of the recipes for Sulpice.
MO: Can you talk about the experience, advantages and challenges of being a pioneer in your field?
Anne: Sulpice Chocolat is very innovative in the chocolate world. We are the first company that paints each of our chocolate bars by decorating them with a hand-painted marbleized or splatter painted design. Previously, this technique has only been used with individual chocolate truffles. So, we are definitely a pioneer in this area.
Additionally, everything about our chocolate bars are inspired by truffles, but in a shelf stable bar form so that we can sell them at the retail level without the use of preservatives. We use super premium truffle quality chocolate and intensely flavor each bar to give you the best flavor experience; even the shape of each individual piece of the break apart bar is meant to replicate a truffle.
The extra care and attention that we paid to the creation of each bar from the recipe to the hand-painted design has been a true advantage to us. Since chocolate is such a crowded area of the food business this extra attention and differentiation has helped us to stand out and convey our message.
MO: What’s one marketing strategy that’s worked really well for you?
Anne: So far, word of mouth has been by far our best marketing strategy. The taste and the artistic look of Sulpice Chocolat are so special that people really like to talk about it and word spreads. We’ve also found that our chocolate bars sample very well in demos and just about anyone that tastes them, will buy them.
MO: Where do you look for inspiration?
Anne: Since I love eating at new and unusual restaurants and cooking with interesting spices, I find inspiration everywhere. Often, I can tell whether a new spice I’ve come across will pair well with a flavor that I’m already familiar with just by smell before I ever even start to create new chocolate recipes. This really helps in my flavor creation so that I can bring out the essence of each flavor to truly pinpoint what makes it so special.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Anne: Yes, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I knew from a young age that I was going to have a business of my own, but I was never sure what it was going to be until I was inspired by chocolate. I knew that I had a fun and completely new take on chocolate and I instantly felt that this was my opportunity to start the business that I always wanted.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Anne: Personally, the most exciting thing that my husband and I have on the horizon is that we are expecting our first child to be born this September! So, right now, that pretty much trumps all else. Businesswise, however, we are seeing rapid increase in sales from both new accounts and repeat business from current retail establishments. We are very excited to see continued momentum and are well on our way towards achieving our goal of becoming a nationwide household name.