To say that I have a sweet tooth is an understatement. Basically, walking into Chocolaterie Tessa’s space in North Austin is a dream come true. You’re usually greeted by Tessa Halstead, second generation chocolatier and owner, in a bright room which showcases her award-winning confectioneries, accompanied with the sweet smell of chocolates being made right behind the counter.
Tessa comes from a family of chocolatiers, working with her father since she was fourteen. His chocolate shop started in 1983 and while she put the idea of chocolate making aside during college to pursue a career in corporate America, she found that chocolate has always been her calling. Her father had retired and she decided to pursue chocolate making with the start of her business in 2012. One of the machines she uses in her shop is her dad’s original that was housed in his shop thirty years ago. It made its way back into the family after they found it at an auction in Dallas and is now helping crank out more delicious goodies from Tessa.
“We stay focused on providing the best ingredients and everything is made fresh, no preservatives and it’s all natural”, Tessa states as she excitedly talks about the farmers and small companies she works with. The shop is filled with chocolate molds, conveyor belts, and smiling employees happily putting together flavors such as her award-winning salted caramel, bourbon pecan, and her Origin line: full of cacao beans from different countries such as the Dominican Republic, Papa New Guinea, Peru, and Ecuador.
She and her husband try to take a chocolate-related trip every year for research and development from France to Belgium and everything in between. Tessa’s face lights up every time she talks about chocolate making and the business. “One of things that’s special about chocolates is that people are happy when they come in. They have this person in mind that they want to buy a gift for, or they’re excited to try something new”, she elaborates with a grin ear to ear.