Eric Nelson, Chocolatier

Eric holding Triple Nut Cluster

Eric holding Triple Nut Cluster

Artfully Chocolate
2003A Mount Vernon Avenue
703-635-7917

and

506 John Carlyle Street
703-575-8686
http://www.artfullychocolate.com

What brought you to the business of chocolate?
My interest in chocolate took off in 2006 when I was looking to open my own business where I could show and sell my artwork.  I opened Artfully Chocolate in 2006 when I was nearly 50 years old as a way to combine my passions of fine chocolate and art.  I figured that they would both attract a similar type of customer.  For all of my adult life prior to that I was an executive in the telecommunications industry.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration was my mother who lived life to the very fullest and who was always looking for ways to use every bit of God-given talent she had.  She inspired me to always look forward, to live bravely and to embrace change as a natural rhythm of life.  As a French Jew who grew up in France during World War II, she had a very difficult childhood and was never able to finish her high school education.  Eventually after raising children, she rose well beyond her background and received a bachelors degree and masters degree in her 40s and 50s.  She embodied the word “inspiration.”

What chocolate concoction of yours has received the most attention?
The part of the menu that has had the strongest reaction has been the Diva hot chocolate.  We came up with a dozen different flavor combinations for hot chocolate and named them after movie starlets from the 40s and 50s.  They have been amazingly well received.  Based on these drinks, Travel and Leisure Magazine has named us among the top places in the U.S. for hot chocolate–two years in a row.  Just this fall, Fodor Travel Company has also named Artfully Chocolate one of the top places in the U.S. for hot chocolate.

What do you do to insure that you are using quality ingredients?
We use the highest quality Belgian chocolate in the confections we sell and in the drinks we make.

If any chef in the world wanted to cook you dinner, who would you pick?
For me, the best meal in the world would be my mother’s French Onion Soup.  It was one of the French culinary specialties that she brought with her from her French upbringing.

What is your guilty food pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is without question, our Diva hot chocolate–the Grace Kelly, a fine 60% dark chocolate combined with caramel and a pinch of sea salt–yum.

Preparing a DNA Hot Chocolate

Preparing a DNA Hot Chocolate

If you would like to see your favorite culinary expert featured here, send contact information to chester@chestersimpson.com.

Written by: Chester Simpson
Photo Credit and Copyright © Chester Simpson

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