RYE, N.Y. -- Diane Holland of Harrison has been making chocolate for more than 20 years, and after five years of leading a chocolate business she has opened up her first store in Rye.
Blue Tulip Chocolates combines three businesses in one: an artisan chocolate shop, a caterer for special events and place to host chocolate-making workshops. The chocolates, cupcakes, hot chocolate, bars and cake pops are all made on location by Holland and her team of chocolatiers.
"What I do is I take very good chocolate, usually from Belgium or France or Venezuela, and I mix the chocolates together," Holland said. The chocolates are mixed in different ways depending on what food they're accompanying. For example, for a strawberry truffle she might use chocolate made from beans grown near fruit to complement the taste. "It's all made in small batches, and I try to ensure that all the chocolates are unique and that each taste is different."
Holland is a graduate of the professional Pastry and Baking Arts program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and Ecole Chocolat's Master Chocolate Program at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Belgium.
"I've always made chocolate. It's what I love to do. I worked as a pastry chef in bakeries and chocolate shops and got a lot of experience, and then I thought, it's time," she said. She looked around for a spot to open up, and discovered an open space on Purchase Street in Rye.
She said her favorite things to make are caramel and figurines such as dinosaurs for kids or chocolate high heels. "I love making the figurines. It's all about having fun, which is really important."
The chocolate workshops will be held for private events and fundraisers, and will be for both kids and adults. Attendees will be able to learn professional chocolate-making skills such as making their own bars and souffles, or decorating cupcakes. The shop opened up on Tuesday, and Holland says that there has already been a steady stream of customers and people checking out what the store has to offer.
Blue Tulip Chocolate is at 137 Purchase St. It will be hosting a grand opening party on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring chocolate-making demonstrations, samples, a raffle, a ribbon cutting and a wine, cheese and chocolates reception.
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