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The corner of Hertel and Parker is soon to be home to a chocolate shop with a built in custom edge. After speaking with Ingeri Eaton, owner of Eaton Chocolate, it was clear that the fledgling enterprise was setting out to tantalize the tastebuds of ‘sweet-tooths’ from around the city. I was curious as to how Ingeri got her start in the world of chocolate creations, and like so many other industrious Buffalonians, it started off with a whole lot of passion and persistence. Unlike a lot of entrepreneurs, in order to get the business rolling, Ingeri will be keeping her factory job during the day while her husband tends the shop. Then, when Ingeri comes in to work the shop later in the day, her husband will set off to work at the same factory. Talk about deep a commitment to keep the entrepreneurial dream alive!

The ultimate hope is to get enough business at the chocolate shop so that one day Ingeri can leave the factory and follow her passion fulltime. “That’s kinda how it started,” she told me. “I started making fresh chocolate for my friends and family. One day, during the holidays, I brought some chocolate into the factory. The workers loved it and began to ask me to make custom orders. By the following holiday season I was even busier taking down custom orders and delivering chocolates to people. I think that the reason that people like my chocolate is a couple of reasons. I make the chocolate and it never sits on a shelf for long. Also, people always ask me to come up with custom creations and I do it. There was a guy at work who wanted white sponge candy and I made it for him. Somebody else wanted white chocolate raisin clusters, while another person wanted orange chocolate peanut clusters. If you want a turtle made with cashews instead of pecans I’ll do it. If someone calls the shop and wants a custom order, I’ll have it ready for them by the next day, even if I have to stay at the shop until 3am to have it ready.”

Ingeri is planning on growing the retail business while concentrating on providing chocolates for events such as birthday parties and weddings. “I think that when people realize what fresh chocolate tastes like they will come back on a regular basis,” she said. “I walked into a new chocolate store on Sheridan the other day that was advertised as having the freshest chocolate around… made right there. After pointing to three different packages I was told each time that the selection that I had inquired about had been shipped in. How is that fresh? When it comes to chocolate, the customer should know that the selections have not been sitting around on a shelf or anywhere else. When we do open in a few weeks, we’re planning on hosting a celebration, and after that I would like to work with some of the local businesses to do chocolate pairings.”

It sounds like Ingeri is on the right path when it comes to following her passions. I find it interesting that both she and her husband will sontinue to work their factory jobs in order to ensure the success of the business. Just thinking about the amount of work that they will be putting in together to build a dream is making me tired… and hungry for chocolate. I’m going to have to stop in as soon as they open for some fresh chocolate to reenergize! 

1856 Hertel Avenue
Buffalo NY 14216

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • hoss

    Where is this in relation to the old “Gertrude Shalala’s” location? Forgive me if my spelling is off. I was about 9 the last time I had her/their sponge. It was the BEST!!

  • rb09

    I have a family member that owns a chocolate shop (Affaire de Chocolat) in Penfield, NY (Rochester area).
    She makes everything by hand in small batches. Nothing on her shelves is “factory” made. You have to have a passion for chocolate in order to be successful. She spends 30 to 40 hours a week making chocolate.
    There is nothing like fresh, handmade truffles! The large chocolate places that mass produce their chocolates can’t make the same quality product. I use to eat the mass produced chocolate and thought it was good until I had fresh chocolate that wasn’t on a shelf for two months.
    Due to the demand for fresh, handmade chocolate we are also thinking of opening a location in the Buffalo area.
    Buffalo needs more artisan chocolatiers!
    I would like to see chocolate become to the Buffalo-area what coffee is to Seattle.
    Good Luck Eaton Chocolate!
    When in Rochester check out Affaire de Chocolat.
    Another one of my favorite artisan chocolatiers is Soma in Toronto. They actually make their chocolate bean-to-bar.

  • BuffaloRox

    Buffalo is loaded with chocolate companies. Chocologo, Niagara Chocolates, Watsons, Fowlers, Parkside Candies, Chow Chocolate and Aletheas come immediately to mind. While these places use machinery, a lot of chocolate is still handmade.

  • rb09

    Niagara Chocolates, Parkside, Fowlers and Watsons are not artisan chocolatiers. Not even close.
    The larger companies can not make the fresh chocolates that a small chocolatier can. The companies mentioned above mass produce there products. Their chocolates may sit in display cases or on shelves for months or longer.

  • BuffaloRox

    Sure but in contrast smaller chocolatiers also have to charge high prices because they cannot buy ingredients in any kind of volume, have higher costs due to intensive labor and remelt/reuse chocolates that don’t sell. Just because one calls him or herself an “artisan chocolatier” doesn’t necessarily mean that they include higher quality ingredients or put out better product (despite a higher price).

  • EricOak

    Chow Chocolat is good and not mass produced.

  • rb09

    Yes, Chow Chocolat is a good example.

  • rb09

    I respectfully disagree.
    There prices are in line with the bigger mass produced companies. Sometimes a bit higher, but you do get what you pay for.
    Chocolate is like wine. Like wine grapes, the cacao beans are naturally grown. Different types of soil, weather and climate will affect the crop and influence the chocolate’s flavor. But unlike wine, which has variations from year to year that are noted and appreciated, we are just learning to appreciate variations in chocolate.
    The remelting occurs more often with the Watsons and Fowlers. The smaller chocolatiers make smaller batches and make to order and have less “left-overs”.
    I know about Watsons remelting old truffles from experience.
    True, calling yourself an artisan chocolatier doesn’t mean your chocolates are good. Anyone can call themselves a “gourmet artisan chocolatier”.
    Good chocolatiers confectionery gems are made in small batches by artisans who care about quality craftsmanship, fine chocolate, and responsibly sourced ingredients.
    Most of the larger mass produced chocolate companies use a lesser quality Couveture, comprimising quality for quantity.

  • rb09

    To learn more about chocolate flavors you can get from using different cacao beans I suggest checking out TCHO Chocolate.
    TCHO Chocolate is an oustanding bean-to-bar chocolate maker in San Fran..

  • Jan Barnes

    Ingeri, what a darling store, I’m so proud of you and hope your business is so good you have to hire people to help you. If I was closer I would come and help you ,just to be with you.
    I’ve tasted your choc’s and they are to die for. Bless your heart, sure do love ya, Aunt Jan

  • queenie

    So “I want to be SoHo.” Or somewhere else. Silly place.

  • Nikkosmama1030

    Her chocolate is defiantly good! I have been a chocolate hater my entire life!!! And now I cant keep my hands off of it, but only Ingeri’s!!!!!!! It is the best out there in my eyes!(mouth) She makes fun, funky, cute, and new chocolates all the time! And defiantly does not claim to be a so called “artisan” or “chocolatier” she is just a wonderfully hard working mother, grandmother,wife,sister, and daughter that is following a dream!

  • rb09

    She doesn’t need to claim to be an “artisan”, but she will be.
    Artisan is an adjective to refer to the craft of hand making food products, such as bread, beverages, cheese, chocolates, etc… .
    And she will be a “chocolatier” because she will be making confectionery from chocolate.

  • queenie

    You’re good, and thanks to a truly merciful God, you are not mass-produced.