"Chocoholics" will have a new spot to get their fix with the opening of a new handmade chocolate store in Amherst.
The Chocolate Fanatic opened its doors on Friday, Nov. 23 in the Cobblestone Corner off of Route 101A in Amherst. The store replaces which closed earlier this year.
Owner Maria Marini of Milford has been running this handmade chocolate business as a home wholesale operation for three years selling her unique creations around the state. She decided to open up the retail space this year in order to grow her business.
“I decided I wanted to expand wholesale business, but needed a bigger space. So I thought ‘why not do retail too?’”
Marini makes almost all of her decadent treats right in the store, and adds her own flavor of creativity into some unique offerings. You’ll find must-have choices such as chocolate-dipped licorice, rock candy and cherries others alongside the staples.
Her many creations also include options not usually seen in your run-of-the-mill chocolate shop. For example, she combines some of her chocolate with different flavors of sea salt for a truly unique experience. She is all about putting new spins on presentation, and you won’t want to miss her beautiful chocolate faces with fruit and nuts inside.
One standout selection is her tea-inspired chocolates featuring various tea leaves from Brookline’s The Cozy Tea Cart. This tea shop is one of the many spots in the area that Marini has collaborated with as The Chocolate Fanatic has grown. She has created chocolate ornaments, logos and other treats in collaboration with local businesses
Marini had owned a children’s accessories business called Pinkleberries for nine years before switching to chocolate, a decision that came naturally with a little inspiration.
“I like to be creative and I know people enjoy chocolate as I do,” she said.” When you love something, you will follow that and work at it until get it. Make it happen. Love what you do and do what you love.”
She wants her business to be known for its unique recipes, which she is always developing with help from her (lucky) friends and family.
“Every piece is unique,” said Marini. “It is not off of a factory, it is handmade right here. I experiment and do a lot of research.”
Moving from a wholesale operation to a retail one is a challenge she is ready to face and is slowly but surely learning what it takes to own her own shop. She will soon have all of her products ready to purchase on top of the current selection, and there is even more planned for the future. Don’t be surprised if you see creamy gelato in the near future, or even chocolate pastries.
The Chocolate Fanatic will be announcing their grand opening celebration once things get up and running, and their tempting chocolate are ready for you right now (with free samples to boot.) Their current hours are Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 pm. and Sunday from 12-6 p.m.
Find out more on The Chocolate Fanatic Facebook page or call them at (603) 672-7133.