The owner of Bittersweet Confections turned her love of chocolate into a dream job
Cheryl Scripter is passionate about chocolate. She grew up on the Northshore in a family that loved baking and eating sweet treats.
After 10 years in Colorado working in marketing, advertising and public relations (where chocolate was incorporated into as many marketing tactics as possible), Scripter returned to New Orleans with her husband and three kids and decided it was time to turn her hobby into something more.
What prompted you to open your own chocolate boutique?
I was doing little gifts of chocolates here and there for people and would bring things to sell at markets. My customers wanted my products more often, so I [thought] I can stick to the easy way and do weekly markets, or I can take a chance and see what happens. The people of New Orleans have been so good to me. One of my customers is from England, and every year in August he makes a trip home. He loads up on my chocolates before he leaves. It’s things like that that make me feel good. To know I’m doing the right thing. Your truffles are unique and inventive.
How do you come up with ideas?
Even when I lived elsewhere, I always went to continuing education classes where I would learn from traveling chefs about chocolates, plated desserts, artisan-type confections. I’m an avid reader of cookbooks and food magazines, and I get a lot of my inspiration from new products just by seeing what’s going on with the latest food trends. Things like pairing different types of spices with chocolates, or different types of cakes and flavors, from ganaches to different fruits. I do a ginger truffle where I use fresh ginger; it’s fabulous with dark chocolate.
What sets Bittersweet Confections apart from other chocolate shops?
Our truffles, our chocolates, everything is handmade. We make all of our products in small batches. I use local ingredients. Each one is hand-scooped, hand-shaped, rolled, packed. Everything we do, we take a lot of pride in. It’s all about quality and presentation. And that’s what I think sets us apart.
What are some of your favorite creations?
I love pistachio truffles. My other new favorite is the dark chocolate lemon truffle finished in a brute cocoa powder. Lemon mixed with dark chocolate is a winning combination on the palate.
Where does your passion for chocolate stem from? I have two sisters, and growing up my mom was big into eating healthy, no preservatives. So whenever we would go grocery shopping, we would often ask for something sweet for dessert. And she would tell us to just make it. So my sisters and I were always in the kitchen baking cakes and cookies, and doing chocolates. [Today] none of us really has the passion for cooking a meal like we do making a dessert.
I imagine just being in the kitchen was very connecting.
My kids are the same way. At my shop I do a chocolate tasting party for grown-ups, and I also do one for kids where I walk them through the three types of chocolate that I use: white, milk and dark. I teach them how to taste using the senses. We go through each of the chocolates, similar to a wine tasting. When you put chocolate on your tongue, it takes you through different stages of flavors. For example with bittersweet chocolate, you go from a real strong cocoa taste, to the chocolate getting smaller in your mouth to a bit of fruitiness, and then you end on a little bit of bitterness. There’s a lot you can do with chocolate, that’s the great thing about it. Not to mention how great it smells, how great it looks. You’re never around anyone sad when you’re around chocolate.
Bittersweet Confections has just released a delicious new line of cakes and pastries. Visit www.bittersweetconfections.com for more information.