Finding the perfect gift can be a struggle. You want to give something thoughtful, but also something that won’t go to waste, or worse, be re-gifted. I’m happy to announce I’ve finally found the perfect gift! It can be given on any occasion, to men and women. It’s a gift guaranteed to be shared, but never re-gifted. And, best of all, it’s made right here in Austin, Texas. I’m talking about handmade chocolates from Chocolaterie Tessa.
This local chocolate shop in north Austin will protect you from any gift-giving faux pas. I recently met with Tessa Halstead for a tour of her factory, and to learn more about her handmade, small-batch chocolates.
Second Generation Chocolatier
Halstead, Master Chocolatier and owner of Chocolaterie Tessa, comes from a family of chocolatiers. She learned her techniques from her father who made traditional European-style chocolates for over 30 years. In 2012, she decided to continue the family tradition here in Austin. Halstead was recently awarded the Silver Award at the International Chocolate Awards for her Milk Chocolate Salted Butter Caramel, proving the quality of her delectable delights. But your taste buds are all you need to taste the difference between her small-batch, handmade chocolates and others you’ve bought in a box at Walgreens.
When I met with Halstead at her factory, I expected something along the lines of the famous “I Love Lucy” chocolate conveyor belt scene. Instead I found a small and precise factory space filled with chocolates at different stages of the meticulous creative process. At one station, white chocolate was being melted; at another, truffles were cooling; and at yet another, workers were hand-wrapping individual chocolates and lollipops. It was impressive to see how hands-on the whole process is.
I was impressed by not only the dedication it takes to make small-batch chocolates with the freshest ingredients, but also by the cleanliness of the facility and friendliness of the staff. It can be tedious work, but Halstead and her team members make it look easy and fun.
All-Natural Ingredients, Sustainably Sourced Cacao
The best thing about Chocolaterie Tessa isn’t something you can see, but what you taste. All chocolates are handmade with no preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial color. Halstead is dedicated to making chocolates with the freshest, in-season, sustainable ingredients. This does mean her chocolates have a shorter shelf life, but I’d rather eat “clean” chocolate than something that’s been sitting on a shelf for six months, chock-full of preservatives. Plus, let’s be honest, who has the willpower to hold on to a box of chocolates for more than a day?
Some of the seasonal flavors to keep your eye out for are strawberry, basil chocolate, hazelnut feuilletine and white chocolate raspberry truffle. Of course, you can always count on finding Chocolaterie Tessa’s signature assortments, ranging from the award-winning Salted Butter Caramels to the 85 percent dark chocolate single origin chocolates.
Holiday Specials and Gifts
Chocolaterie Tessa has you covered for any and all holidays. For everyone’s “favorite” upcoming holiday, Halstead has all the heart-shaped chocolate options covered. And if you really want to wow your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, you can get a heart-shaped box of chocolates with the box also made of chocolate!
And because we live in Austin and therefore love our beer, Chocolaterie Tessa has paired up with Zilker Brewing Company on East Sixth Street to offer a chocolate and beer tasting class! So ladies, if you want to surprise your beau with something you know he’ll love, or if you want a fun night out with girlfriends, sign up for this class.
Chocolaterie Tessa also offers customized gifts. So whether you’re a small business who wants to have your logo printed on chocolates, or a bride and groom looking for personalized treats for your guests, they have you covered.
Where to Find Chocolaterie Tessa
I recommend visiting the Chocolaterie Tessa store and factory at 7425 Burnet Road. If you can’t make it to that part of town, simply order online. You can also find the caramels at a few favorite Austin locations such as Taco Deli and Royal Blue Grocery. I recommend signing up for the newsletter to receive information about factory tours, be the first to hear about monthly classes lead by Halstead herself and learn about new products before they hit the counter.
So go on! Treat yourself–or a loved one–to a box of chocolates.
@jpino9 wants to know:
Where can we find your favorite made-in-Austin chocolate?