Chelsea Chocolates was born on a golf course green in 1995, when Gail Sargent and Shaaron Pyyn first met. After this stroke of fate, the pair grew Chelsea Chocolates from their house to the shop’s current location in Craighurst. Then, Laurie Thompson arrived on the scene. “I was a wine and spirits rep for many years, and I would come to Chelsea Chocolates to have the ladies make icewine chocolates that I could distribute as Christmas gifts to my clients.” When Gail and Shaaron wanted to sell the business to retire in 2009, Laurie was more than willing to take over. “I have always had a passion for chocolate. My mom had a special cupboard in her kitchen that our entire family (and then some) knew as the ‘chocolate treat cupboard.’ Chocolate was in our bloodlines!”
Having never owned a business before, Laurie faced some challenges when she first took over Chelsea Chocolates. But with the help and support of her family, Gail, and Shaaron, Laurie was set for success after completing several chocolate courses through Callebaut and Humber College.
“The two ladies stayed with us for several months to help with the transition, and my family was full of great cooks and bakers. I learned at an early age to enjoy these talents.” Though challenging at first, Laurie says, “I jumped in with two feet and here we are today! Building relationships with our customers, growing our business in both retail and wholesale, and learning along the way has been so incredibly rewarding.”
Part of the reward comes from taking pride in their hand-crafted and high-quality chocolates. Using only the finest Belgian chocolate, Chelsea Chocolates includes ingredients like real fruit compounds, pure oils, fresh nuts, balsamic vinegars, craft beers, and distilled spirits. Besides their incredible uniqueness, all of their products are made on site, which means they can fill custom orders within a matter of hours.
But don’t wait until the last minute for Valentine’s Day! Order ahead to treat your sweetie with their special Valentine’s creation: a large chocolate heart shell filled with hand-crafted truffles and buttercream chocolates. They can customize your order by topping the heart with a message or your recipient’s name or (even better) by incorporating a piece of jewelry inside the chocolate heart. That has to be the sweetest way to be given a piece of jewelry!
From the golf course green to sweet supreme, Chelsea Chocolates has made a remarkable journey. Although it has changed over the years, the business still has the same goal: to make sure you never forget the lasting, delicious memory of when you first tried their locally (and lovingly) made chocolates.
by Emily Bednarz