Business is sweet for Chandler chocolatier SanTan Sun News

Business is sweet for Chandler chocolatier

Business is sweet for Chandler chocolatier
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By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

Something sweet was missing in Aurelie Nguyen’s life when her family relocated from Canada to Arizona a few years ago.

“When we moved here, we couldn’t find something we were used to like ice cream,” she said.

French-Canadian soft ice cream has a different density, texture, and flavor. The American version did not measure up to Nguyen’s expectations.

She decided to use her French heritage to open up a shop in the East Valley that could offer treats reminiscent of Quebec, her hometown.

Crème and Chocolates opened in Mesa nearly two years ago and a Chandler location soon followed at the Chandler Fashion Center.

The response has been quite positive, Nguyen said, as customers hadn’t been able to find desserts similar to what her shop could offer.

Ice cream and crepes are the two main staples of the business, but it’s what goes on top that makes Crème and Chocolates really stand out from their competitors.

The shop has nine different chocolate flavors ready to drizzle and glop over a patron’s dessert. Caramel, hazelnut, sea salt, and peanut butter are a few of the chocolaty flavors available to taste. 

“People love to have the option to choose a different chocolate,” Nguyen said. “It makes a fun experience; customizing everything to you taste.”

All the ice cream is vanilla-based and customers can choose to have a flavoring of orange, pistachio, strawberry, butter pecan, or pumpkin pie swirled into the mix.

Nguyen’s personal favorite is the raspberry-swirl ice cream with hazelnut chocolate on top. It has a smooth, creamy texture to it that’s unlike regular ice cream, she said.

The weight and density of her ice cream is almost like custard, she said, except her shop doesn’t use eggs as part of the mix. 

Nguyen, her husband and their three kids moved to Arizona to escape the bitter Canadian winters.

Once they arrived, Nguyen realized she might have found the perfect place for a desserts-only business.

“What better place to sell ice cream than where it’s always sunny,” she joked.

Even when the temperature drops in Arizona, Nguyen said her customers still enjoy coming to her shop. In fact, the winter season is actually quite busy for the ice cream business, she said.

Crème and Chocolates aims to be evocative of a neighborhood French bistro – where friends can gather on an afternoon and split a dessert.

“We tried to create an ambiance of something cozy,” Nguyen said.

Savory menu options are also available for those not in the mood for dessert.

The Moulin Rouge crepe comes with shrimp, crab, and a creamy rosé sauce that matches the color of the dishes’ namesake.

Arizonans may prefer the spicy flavors of the Southwest crepe, which is cooked with BBQ chicken and chili mayonnaise.

Nguyen has begun shifting her business toward the online sector and selling a number of products through her website.

Buyers will soon be able chocolate purchase fondue kits and crepe mixes.

As for the future, Nguyen said she doesn’t plan to expand anytime soon beyond her two present locations.

“Two is already a lot,” she said. “We’re still pretty young as a business.”

Crème and Chocolates opens at 11:30 a.m. every day of the week. It closes at 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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