Chocofin Chocolatier: Handmade chocolates from scratch plus a whole lot more
What happens when a local pastry chef begins dabbling in chocolate making? When he’s married to another pastry chef, it creates a perfect blend of sweetness called Chocofin Chocolatier, a unique Fountain Hills confectionery offering handmade chocolates, freshly baked cakes and pies, and regionally sourced ice cream.
You’ll find Chocofin on the corner of Palisades Boulevard and La Montana Avenue, but that’s not where it all started.
Owners Louis and Denise Mirabella worked in some of Arizona’s largest resorts for twenty years before Louis began teaching himself to make chocolates. When he realized the resorts were buying chocolates abroad, he began selling his chocolates to them wholesale. The results were so successful, the couple opened a wholesale location in Fountain Hills in 1998.
Originally, the Mirabellas thought they’d only be selling wholesale, but the reaction they received from Fountain Hills residents to the small retail component they added to the shop convinced them otherwise.
“We were overwhelmed on the holidays,” Louis said, still in amazement. “Once word got out, we grew every year. After our lease was up, we moved into our current location. We’re still pleasantly surprised we can make a living like this.”
Their small batch chocolates, made with natural ingredients and great chocolates such as Callebaut, Valrhona, and Scharffenberger, are a Fountain Hills favorite.
Denise says the salt and whisky and butter toffee truffles, along with the chocolate mousse cake, are Chocofin’s most popular sellers. But the most unique product they sell is likely their “bean to bar” chocolate made entirely from scratch on site, beginning with the raw cocoa beans.
“We’re really excited about it,” Louis said. “It’s much more intensely flavored. It’s not a huge part of our business but people who are really into a more intense dark chocolate experience will like it.”
And don’t forget the ice cream. On vacation one summer, the couple visited Napa Valley chocolate shops and were intrigued with those which also carried ice cream. Once they tasted gelato from a Phoenix-based maker who uses heavy cream, the Mirabellas added it to their menu. Louis says they do well in the summer but sell twice as much ice cream in the winter.
For the most part, Denise handles the baking aspect of the business and Louis focuses on chocolate production. When you visit, make sure you buy enough to take home for friends and family. Due to their high volume of sales, Chocofin no longer offers mail order.
“There aren’t many artisan chocolatiers in Arizona who’ve been around as long as we have,” he said. “Everything is fresh and made from scratch. The more you taste chocolates and pastries, the more you appreciate what we do.”