Our team, March 2023:
Ruby Bradford, Sarah Levine, Catherine Wiersema, Victoria Bradford, Kaitlyn Carrion
Our Story, as told on 'Plate the State', News Center Maine, March 2022
Valentine week, '207', News Center Maine, February 2019
Catherine Wiersema, Founder. 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 Levine, Lead Chocolatier: 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.
Ruby Bradford, Chocolatier: Ruby joined the team in June 2021 as an apprentice. A recent 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 introduced her first chocolate creation in the Fall of 2021, Bergamot, a dark chocolate infused with a strong Earl Grey. She is taking a gap year to work with us as a Chocolatier, before starting college in the fall of 2023.
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 so that Sarah and Ruby can keep working their magic.
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.
And a distinguished alumna, Darcy Brennan Poor, who for more than four years helped grow Chocolats Passion into what it is today. We will always think of Darcy as part of our Team!
About our Chocolates:
Our chocolates are made by hand with pure ingredients, including Fair Trade E. Guittard couvertures, organic 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.
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 Passion, Share the Love!, Vegan, and Crunch collections, along with our Hazelnut Crème, represent our core offerings. Additional collections are available for Valentine's Day; for spring and Mother's and Father'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 189 Brackett and see what we have to offer you!