Whether it be a reflection of her travels or of her hometown, Courtney Paul paints all of her life experiences on a chocolate canvas. Her business Courtney Paul Chocolates in South End is making a name for itself amongst those with a sweet tooth.
Sweet Lorraine’s Bakery is located in South End. Upon entering you’ll be met with a smile, pleasant conversation, and tantalizing goods. Having “partnered with the owner of the bakery,” Courtney Paul works diligently to create the perfect chocolate, truffle or bar. She is very much like Vianne in the novel Chocolat. She sells “dreams, small comforts, sweet, harmless temptations to bring down a multitude of saints.”
Paul started learning chocolate making ten years ago while living in Philadelphia. “I focused on molding chocolate into centerpieces like chocolate swans, and high heeled shoes,” she says. About five years ago, Paul learned more about cacao beans, cacao production, and the chocolate industry. Then in 2010, she began making samples for her line. Paul explains that “chocolate bars came naturally to me, but truffles took a lot of work.” Her most difficult truffle is the lavender infused truffle. “I had to practice, properly balancing the flavor, so the truffle would taste the same during its three week shelf life followed by the dipping and finishing” stage.
Living in Paris and traveling in Asia allowed Paul to “make sense” of her own line of chocolates. Feeling that she had enough “experience and knowledge to create something unique,” she relocated to Charlotte where in May 2011 she started her own business. “My business,” Paul says “is my version of art. I get to reflect all the experiences of my life on a chocolate canvas. What I learned from my travels in Asia, I created the wasabi bar: when I think of my hometown Holly Hill, SC—pecans—can be found in my chocolate too. You can travel my life from childhood to present day through my chocolate and see what has inspired me. It’s very personal.”
“The first step to making chocolate is creativity and exploration,” says Paul. “You have to play with spices to see what works.” Paul likens chocolate to wine. “The bean, humidity, soil, and growing conditions all impact the flavor of the final product.”
With a supportive community, Paul’s “dream has come true.” She has “found great business partners, suppliers, customers, and retail outlets,” all of whom believe in her. For more information on Paul’s chocolates go to www.courtneypaulchocolates.com or phone 704-629-8824.