Home Business Behind the Scenes: Peterbrooke Chocolatier

Behind the Scenes: Peterbrooke Chocolatier

It’s a few weeks before Valentine’s Day which lead my love-filled, chocolate-obsessed self straight down Palafox Street and into Peterbrooke Chocolatier where we would be making chocolate covered strawberries.

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It was no surprise the shop was completely decked out in adorable Valentine’s Day displays and chocolates. Upon arriving, I was immediately greeted by the delicious smell of chocolate and Dell and Jordan Cartledge. Peterbrooke Chocolatier Pensacola Palafox is locally owned and operated by the Cartledge family: Lee, Dell, Jordan and Faith.

Leslie, Peterbrooke chocolatier, and Jordan lead back to the kitchen where I fashioned my very own Peterbrooke apron and bonnet and instantly was reminded of the I Love Lucy chocolate factory episode. Don’t worry, I did not find myself stuffing chocolate truffles in my bonnet or apron!

On display in the Peterbrooke kitchen are two moulding wheels that keep the chocolate tempering and ready to dip anything and everything in their gourmet chocolates. One wheel is for dark chocolate and one is for milk chocolate and you can see their chocolatiers whipping up chocolate treats on a daily basis.

These were the two wheels that we used to make our chocolate covered strawberries. After a quick tutorial, I was ready to go. Grab the strawberry by the crown, slowly slide in down the chocolate river until it’s fully submerged and let the excess chocolate drip off before placing it on a cooling tray.

From there, we drizzled the opposite chocolate over the top with a spatula and placed the trays in the cooler for three minutes to cool before taste testing (my favorite part) and packaging them up in their adorable heart-shaped boxes.

Before leaving the team showed me their other gorgeous chocolate treats and customized baskets that they are preparing for Valentine’s Day. Their baskets are completely customizable based on your needs or theme and they have a mold for almost any chocolate shape you can imagine! Even better, they can dip almost anything in chocolate.

The Cartledge family was so accommodating and you can feel their genuine passion for chocolate and the Pensacola community from the moment you meet them. I can’t thank them enough for letting me get a glimpse of their operation and for all the chocolate treats they sent me home with!

Go check out Peterbrooke Chocolatier for all your chocolate needs this Valentine’s Day, and they even offer a chocolate making course where you too can go behind the scenes, create your own chocolate masterpieces and experience your very own chocolate-induced coma! Or preorder your very own Peterbrooke chocolate covered strawberries by calling 850-285-0128.

A little Peterbrooke history…

Peterbrooke founder and renowned chocolate expert, Phyllis Lockwood Geiger, opened her first chocolate shop in Jacksonville, Florida’s San Marco neighborhood in 1983.

Her mission was to bring back the art of European chocolate making and translate it into what she calls, “The American neighborhood experience”.

By focusing on traditional American favorites such as cookies, pretzels, and popcorn dipped in the highest quality, European-inspired chocolate, Phyllis was on the leading edge of America’s “gourmet movement” of the 1980s.

During Peterbrooke’ s first Christmas season, the shop was asked to participate in the neighborhood’s annual holiday festival. Merchants were to provide free treats to visitors in the shopping plaza.

At that time, Peterbrooke hadn’t created a product that was suitable for large groups. Phyllis’ dilemma was, “What to serve?” She couldn’t afford to sample her expensive hand-made chocolates.

Buzzing ideas, she went next door to the movie theater and purchased a huge bag of fresh popcorn. She hand tempered a bowl of milk chocolate, poured it over the popcorn, broke it up, and served it to the crowds in large bowls. The creation was an instant hit! It continues to be the company’s number one selling product.