Meeting with Audrey Scherrer is like meeting with someone right out of a storybook. She is warm and full of magical ideas. Her smile is gravitating and I think it’s safe to say that she could make hearts melt faster than the chocolate in her truffles.
I sat down with Audrey to talk (and learn) a little more about her sweet story, her passion, and her career in truffle making at her shop Bittersweet Artisan Truffles. You can sign up for Audrey’s class Wine + Chocolate: A happy Marriage, which starts Aril 9th at Scape, here.
So… why chocolate?
I became very interested in chocolate, as the medium for my dessert creations, after I earned a certificate in candy and chocolate making from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Chocolate is very temperamental and difficult to work with. I guess I enjoyed the challenge and loved the tangible success of creating artisan chocolates.
How long have you been making chocolates?
I have been working with chocolate since 2006. I was working fulltime in another field and somehow talked my boss into letting me take unpaid time off so I could attend the Culinary Institute of America course. Upon returning “to the real world” and my fulltime job, I started selling my product on the weekend at a farmer’s market in Memphis, TN. I would stay up all Friday night to make chocolate truffles for the next morning’s market. I knew that I had found my calling.
What did you do before opening up Bittersweet Artisan Truffles?
I worked for Marriott International for seven years in a variety of positions within the catering and sales departments.
Tell me about that change – what was exciting, what was challenging?
I’m a pretty risk adverse person. I like structure, plans and to-do lists. I played it safe and built the business very slowly while having a secure job and paycheck. I was able to do a lot of business testing without much risk and discovered that I had a loyal and enthusiastic customer base for my product. Starting a business and being an entrepreneur were challenging and are still challenging to this day. They are the reasons that I love what I do.
What makes Bittersweet a different kind of chocolate shop?
We make everything in small batches, to order with premium ingredients one can actually pronounce – all natural and no preservatives. We are an “online” shop with a local presence at farmer’s markets around the area and events like Best of Missouri at the Botanical Gardens. In 2011 we started selling the only all-natural dessert sauce in the region. It was impossible to find a chocolate sauce without corn syrup and without a laundry list of ingredients that you couldn’t pronounce. I saw an opportunity. We now offer three signature all-natural dessert sauces and limited-time in season options.
How do you go about sourcing cocoa?
So there are two main jobs associated with creating chocolate candy: the chocolate makers and the chocolatiers. I’m a chocolatier. I turn finished couverture chocolate into chocolate candies. Chocolate makers harvest cocoa beans and other ingredients to produce couverture chocolate. So I don’t source cocoa; instead, I source chocolate. I source my chocolate from EuroGourmet. It imports chocolates from around the world. We love using Felchlin chocolate (from Switzerland) and a variety of chocolate from Belgium including Cocoa Barry.
Where do you pull inspiration for your unique flavors?
From many places! I was at my nephew’s 6th birthday party when the Fitz’s root beer and Billy Goat Chip truffle idea was born. Our vegan and energy packed truffles were born after a trip I took to Bali, Indonesia with my sister. I seek out other local businesses and love collaborating with fellow entrepreneurs on flavor combinations.
When you’re not making chocolates, what could we find you Dabbling in?
Playing hooky with my 14-month-old son, Stanley, at a vinyasa yoga class, being outside with my family, cooking at home, and volunteering for Prosper women’s entrepreneurs.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Bittersweet shops local whenever possible, including Fair Shares CCSA, Cheryl’s Herbs, Still630 Whiskey, farmer’s markets vendors, Schlafly Bottleworks, Fitz’s Root Beer, Billy Goat Chips, Penzeys Spices, local wineries, London Tea Room, and Mississippi Mud Coffee Roasters.
One last thing I have to ask… where do you stand on white chocolate?
I’m in the group of people that believe it’s technically not chocolate. That’s mostly because I’m a dark chocolate lover. My husband is a white chocolate lover. As result, we have to offer white chocolate products!