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An early valentine from us to you — a guide to Missouri’s chocolate makers

A selection of chocolates from The Candy Factory, a candy store highlighted in Deborah Reinhardt's "Delectable Destinations."
The Candy Factory
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A selection of chocolates from The Candy Factory, a candy store highlighted in Deborah Reinhardt's "Delectable Destinations."

Happy early Valentine’s Day! We’ve got a delectable present for you ahead of the holiday: an audio guide to Missouri’s chocolate makers.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Deborah Reinhardt, the author of “Delectable Destinations: A Chocolate Lovers Guide to Missouri,” joined contributor Steve Potter to discuss the stories and creations of more than 20 chocolatiers across the state … including some in St. Louis.

Deborah Reinhardt, author, "Delectable Destinations."
Credit Deborah Reinhardt
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Deborah Reinhardt, author, "Delectable Destinations."

Kakao Chocolate is one such chocolatier. Owner Brian Pelletier also joined the program, bringing along some hand-dipped chocolates to try in-studio.

Reinhardt said she decided to write the book because she grew up unable to eat chocolate. Luckily, she said, she grew out of that allergy and has since become a chocolate fanatic.

The book features stories and interviews with chocolate makers. It is divided into three sections, exploring chocolate shops in the north, south and central parts of the state. About 20 chocolatiers are profiled and there are 30 listings for chocolate shops throughout the book.

“They’re varied,” Reinhardt said. “There are three bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the state (considering the population of our state, that’s pretty remarkable), where they source their own beans, roast them and make their own chocolate magic. There are also long-standing community chocolate shops across the state that have been passed down through generations. … Really, whatever your taste is, you’ll find something in Missouri.”

Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolate.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
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Brian Pelletier, owner of Kakao Chocolate.

Pelletier started Kakao Chocolate, located in Clayton and Maplewood, in 2008 after he got tired of his work in the corporate world. By chance, he went to a party with a woman looking to sell her old chocolate equipment. And so, Kakao was born.

“The thing that is important to us is that each of these was dipped one at a time,” Pelletier said. “We don’t have what you’d call ‘Lucille Ball machines:’ we don’t have a conveyor, each of our chocolates are dipped individually.”

That’s one of the differences you’ll find in Missouri chocolate. In some stores, you’ll find chocolates that are small-batch and hand-made. You’ll also find shops that make large-batch chocolates for wholesale across the country.

Listen for more discussion about the different kinds of chocolate you’ll find across the state:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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