Chocolatay Confections has been the “soundtrack to some of the happiest moments” in Danielle and Matthew White’s lives. They first got the idea for creating their own treats in 2009 when their son, Mateus (Tay), was diagnosed with severe peanut allergies and could not enjoy many popular candies or desserts. At the time there was a limited range of peanut-free chocolates and sweets to choose from, which prompted the family to create their own. Matthew enrolled in L’Ecole Chocolat’s “Professional Chocolatier Program” and shared his knowledge with Danielle. The pair fell in love with candy making and moved to Chapel Hill in 2012 to turn their hobby into Chocolatay Confections. The family will soon be taking on a new adventure, by opening a spot in soon-to-open Blue Dogwood Public Market.
Chandler Carpenter: What was the inspiration for starting Chocolatay?
Danielle White: Our inspiration was our oldest son, Mateus, who was diagnosed with severe peanut allergies when he was only 2 years old. We set out to make chocolates and confections that he could eat that were reminiscent of the nostalgic candies we grew up loving, reinventing them with quality ingredients, textures and flavors. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion. We love what we do and sharing it with others.
CC: What kind of local ingredients do you use?
DW: We started Chocolatay at the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market and are also members of the Durham Farmers Market so we source many ingredients like our eggs, cheese, raw honey, spices and fruit from fellow markets vendors like Open Door Farms, T-5 Farms, Tiny Farms, Ever Laughter Farms and Elodie Farms. We also source from other NC small businesses like Sea Love Sea Salt, Farmer’s Daughter and Just Bee Apiary. We value our deep connections to local farmers markets and North Carolina as a whole.
CC: What is your favorite chocolate that you create?
Matthew White: That’s like asking us, which one is our favorite child.
DW: Tay and Logan’s favorite is the milk chocolate honeycomb bar; my allegiance goes back and forth between our milk sunflower cups and the coconut bliss bar. Matthew will never turn down a dark chocolate sea salt caramel.
CC: Tell us about the chocolate you created with Top of the Hill Distillery and Just Bee Apiary.
DW: This is one of our favorite collaborations to date. We source whiskey honey directly from Marty at Just Bee Apiary. TOPO supports Just Bee as a host site for their bees and JB uses TOPO in their proprietary aging process. We took that incredibly delicious honey and created our signature 72% dark chocolate whiskey honey bonbon.
CC: Do you have any special products coming out for summer?
DW: We are introducing The Truffle Bar, made with fair trade certified milk and dark chocolate, our homemade dulce de leche caramel & espresso ganache. We don’t want to give too much away and ruin the delicious surprises that are yet to come!
CC: What events do you enjoy attending in Chapel Hill as a family?
DM: We live in Chapel Hill and our boys love the Chapel Hill Community Center Park and Homestead Park, Kidzu and the Morehead Planetarium. We also enjoy attending special events at the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market as well as eating at local food places like Mediterranean Deli and Caffe Driade.