Name: Glenn Petriello
Business/Location: Chocotastery/Jersey City, NJ
Specialty: We educate consumers and enthusiasts on craft chocolate and how to mindfully taste chocolate.
What problem does your business solve?: Chocotastery helps consumers relate to chocolate. Many consumers who purchase and enjoy chocolate are purchasing mainstream bars on supermarket shelves that may not be the highest quality. Consumers are uneducated in how chocolate is made, that there are fine flavors with craft chocolate, and what really goes into the price tag for a craft chocolate bar. We solve this by creating fun, educational tasting experiences to help consumers learn about craft chocolate, how to mindfully taste chocolate, and discover the impact the consumers can have on the chocolate industry.
What makes your business unique?: We offer unique educational experiences for chocolate consumers, and a portion of each class’s proceeds will be donated to support various non-profit organizations focused on improving the livelihood of cacao farmers in countries around the world. To top it off, after each class, everyone gets to choose a craft chocolate bar to take home.!
What’s your story?: In 2009 at 24 years old, I decided to teach myself how to make chocolate truffles. My chocolate journey, alongside my budding HR career, had just begun. Starting in 2011, I took several chocolate classes at culinary schools in NYC and online at Ecole Chocolat and began creating my own confections in my Hoboken apartment. In 2015, I discovered the chocolate making process, and then started making my own chocolate under my brand, Glennmade Craft Chocolate. In 2017, I was asked to be the Head Chocolate Maker at Indi Chocolate in Seattle, WA, which meant leaving my day job and moving across country to follow my dream. After 7 months, I decided to come back to NJ, and shortly thereafter created Chocotastery to share my chocolate knowledge and experiences and to have fun tasting chocolate with others! In 2019, I joined the Indiegrove community and started giving classes in March 2019.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Be flexible, have fun and always follow your passion! It’s important to always remember what you are committed to. The moment that your mind focuses elsewhere, it will become challenging to stay inspired.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: I wish that I had known that just because you are super passionate about your niche doesn’t mean everyone you encounter is going to be on the same level of interest and passion as you. You have to meet them where they are, simplify your message, and give them an amazing, memorable experience.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: My greatest challenge is being confident that we can gather crowds of people together to talk about and taste chocolate for our price point. We’re overcoming this challenge by sharing class ideas with others and asking them what they’d like to experience. I’ve had a wide variety of experiences around chocolate and knowing that we can provide a unique education and tasting experience based on our journey is something that we know will be inspiring and entertaining to others.
What are you most proud of about your business?: I am most proud of creating a chocolate community in and around the Jersey City area. I have lived in Jersey City since July 2018 and had lived in Hoboken for 7 years. Between these two neighborhoods and New York City, I believe there is a huge potential to attract a lot of chocolate lovers who are excited about craft chocolate! I am also really proud that I will be able to support my chocolate maker friends around the world by purchasing and promoting their products and supporting non-profits who are making a difference in the livelihood of farmers in cacao-producing countries around the world.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: Well, anytime I say “chocolate,” heads turn. I can talk about it for hours and probably days. I’d like to admit, like most people in the chocolate industry, I don’t know everything there is to know. My experiences creating confections, making my own chocolate from bean to bar, making chocolate for another company, and educating others have provided such a unique journey for me. I am really fired up to start getting into conversations and sharing my experiences and fun facts that I’ve picked up along the way. Additionally, it’s quite rewarding when I see people blown away when they taste a piece of chocolate and they taste a certain fruit or nut and there is absolutely no fruits or nuts in the bar. They always think it’s a trick of some sort! If you’re now wanting to know how that is, you’ll have to come to one of our classes to find out!
To find out more about Chocotastery courses and to sign up for their newsletter, visit chocotastery.com.