Interview: Sunita De Tourreil, Founder of The Chocolate Garage

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“What are some ways that we can continue to bring change to this supply chain, and what are some ways that we can continue to introduce new ways of doing things, so that we don’t fall into the trap of “business as usual?”

-Sunita De Tourreil, Founder of The Chocolate Garage

In the last decade and a half, Sunita De Tourreil has devoted her time to campaigning on behalf of chocolate manufacturers. In addition to holding hundreds of tastings each year for customers at her artisan chocolate retail shop, which she named The Chocolate Garage, she also conducted numerous experiments with the financing of new chocolate production endeavors. During the eight years that the Garage was open for business, Sunita saw small-batch chocolate makers from all over the globe develop their skills as artisans. Until its doors were permanently closed in 2018, having a bar for sale in the Garage was considered one of the industry’s greatest accolades (in my humble opinion).

The Chocolate Garage is a retail company, so tell me about the expenses associated with operating it. Are they based in the body, the mind, or the wallet? We go into the planning that goes into massive-scale chocolate tastings, as well as advocacy for handmade chocolate and the significance of developing community with consumers, from her home in the state of California, which is located in the United States. I really hope that you take as much pleasure in hearing about our talk as I did in having it.

It is important to take note that the issues of purchasing, selling, and promoting artisan chocolate play a significant role in my questions as a direct result of the two podcast episodes for which I interviewed Sunita.

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A post shared by The Chocolate Garage® (@chocolategarage) on Aug 16, 2019 at 4:42pm PDT

Sunita (center) with two members of her “chocumentary” team.

Topics We Cover

  • Sunita’s history working with artisan chocolate before the term “craft” chocolate was ever coined
  • the newest “Chocumentary” about Switzerland may be found here.
  • how throughout the course of her career, Sunita has hosted hundreds, if not thousands, of chocolate tastings, with anything from 15 to 20 tasters to upwards of 250 participants.
  • Jim and the importance of setting
  • the ease with which one may sample chocolate in its capacity as a “fine meal”
  • representing the interests of chocolate artisans who create small batches (the chocolate whisperer)
  • Over the course of eight years, she has been able to cultivate a sense of community and trust in the retail space she owns in the Bay Area of California, USA