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Our Team!

                                                                                           Winky Lewis photo

Our team, Summer 2023:  Kaitlyn Carrion, Victoria Bradford, Catherine Wiersema, Sarah Burns, Briana Prothero, Ruby Bradford

Our Story, as told on 'Plate the State', News Center Maine, March 2022


Valentine week, '207', News Center Maine, February 2019 

Our Team:

Catherine Wiersema, Founder and Co-Owner.  Catherine started Chocolats Passion in 2014 in her Belmont, MA kitchen.  In the fall of 2017 came a move to Portland, and in 2018 the opening of our shop/production space at 189 Brackett Street. Catherine's passion for chocolate making began while growing up in France:  at the age of 10 she had created her first confection, a hard-as-a-rock hazelnut caramel!  Mostly self-taught, she prepared for her transition from amateur to professional by completing the 2013 Professional Chocolatier and the 2014 Chocolate Quality Standards programs at Ecole Chocolat. 

Sarah Burns, Lead Chocolatier and Co-Owner: Sarah is a Culinary Institute of America graduate  (Hyde Park, NY) and pastry chef, who joined our team in March 2020. Sarah soon proved herself a full-fledged chocolatier when she earned a silver medal with her first confection, just six months into her tenure with us!  Sarah's broad talents include a special skill for creating spicy chocolates, and the ability to maximize our production runs while staying faithful to our sky-high quality standards. Her outstanding contributions led to her promotion to Lead Chocolatier in January 2022.  In January 2024, Sarah became Co-Owner with Catherine of Chocolats Passion, securing the long-term future of our beloved company.

Victoria Bradford, Production Assistant:  You can't keep Victoria out of a candy shop:  she has worked for three chocolate and confectionery companies over the years.  Before her first day at Chocolats Passion, she already knew and loved all the chocolates.  In addition to being Ruby's mom, she is a full-time student.  While sailing around the world with her family, she maintained that a candy thermometer was necessary for self-sufficiency.  In the shop, you'll find her helping customers, packing orders, making toffee, and prepping molds and ingredients.  And creating yummy new caramels!                            

Kaitlyn Carrion, Chocolatier:  Kaitlyn joined us in March of 2023.  Kaitlyn began her chocolate journey three years ago as a confectioner's assistant, and quickly grew enamored with luxury confections. One of her long-time goals is to visit Europe and experience confections from far away places. Enthralled with its history, Kaitlyn has planted her roots in Portland and is discovering a new appreciation for all that the city, and its vast culinary scene, has to offer.

Briana Prothero, Chocolatier:  Briana joined the team in July 2023 after moving cross country from Arizona.  She and her husband fell in love with the bustling town of Portland, ME.  Her background is in nutrition and culinary arts.  With work mostly in catering and restaurant kitchens, she looks forward to learning all she can about chocolate. 

Ruby Bradford, Chocolatier:  Ruby joined the team in June 2021 as an apprentice.  A 2022 Portland High School graduate, she is an accomplished baker who honed her skills while spending most of her childhood and teen years sailing around the world with her family.  Ruby took a gap year to work with us, started St Lawrence University in August 2023, and will be back with the team for the summer!

About our Chocolates:

Our chocolates are made by hand with pure ingredients, including Fair Trade  E. Guittard couvertures, local cream and butter, organic citrus,  hand-picked  local fruits and the freshest nuts.   The chocolates' hues come from airbrushed cocoa butter, making each flavor readily recognizable. We don't use preservatives, so our chocolates are at peak flavor within 4 weeks. 

Using only ethical chocolate is essential to us, and has been our practice since Catherine started the company in 2014:  while 90% of the chocolate we use comes from E. Guittard, we also use Valrhona's Manjari from Madagascar and Felchlin's caramelized white.  All three of our chocolate providers exceed Fair Trade standards, which ensures there is NEVER child labor, provides fair wages for the farmers, and helps farmers build sustainable agricultural practices.  We will never use a chocolate that hasn't been vetted for those standards.

In late fall every year, we update our menu:  each of us is responsible for new creations, which we rotate with existing chocolates for maximum variety.  But our production is always limited, so we recommend that you place your order early.  

About our Collections:

Our Chocolate Boxes and Confections collections represent our core offerings.  Additional formats are available for Valentine's Day;  for spring and Mother's Day; and for fall and winter with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Holiday specialties.  These seasonal collections show up in the Menu when available to order.  The boutique has offerings not available on the website.  So please come to 175 Spring Street and see what we have to offer you!