1. How did Oliver Kita Chocolates come to be (your background)?

I am a professional pastry chef that owned and operated a cafe in the heart of Woodstock, New York called the Heaven Cafe. At that time I was making the chocolate Buddha and wanted to improve the technique that it was created with – I had the cafe for 10 years, was approaching 38 and felt it was time to follow my passion to study becoming a chocolatier. I sold my business ($$$$!!!) and moved to Paris to study making bon bons. It’s important to follow one’s passion and to pursue one’s dreams, to learn and to grow.

Everyone around me was totally dumbstruck that I would sell my very lucrative business and change my career path to follow my passions. I do not regret any of it.

2. Where does your passion for chocolate come from?

My passion comes from being an artist and in the creative process of developing ideas and then making them come true with chocolate. I painted with watercolors, oils and acrylics and gave all these away to my fellow artist’s in exchange for working with chocolate. My new medium: edible artistry.

3. How are Oliver Kita Chocolates different?

Being a gentleman gardener, artist and above all else a chef located in the Hudson Valley (the new epicurean center of “Farm to Table”) My chocolates are inspired from floral fruit and herbal influences found in the garden, field and orchards of the Hudson Valley. I use a lot of local dairy, nuts and fruits in my bon bons, but source all of my fair trade organic chocolate from two French based companies that support human rights. The majority of my creations are based on the idea of blending perfume with a top note of flavor or or fragrant inspired tasted, a middle passage of cocoa flavor that can be exciting, and completed a long lasting finish often bittersweet. I secretly think of each of my fine bon bons as fine perfume to be enjoyed and appreciated every day. Woman love and appreciate fine perfume and the same is true for fine chocolate. A little every day is a very good thing for mind body and the chocolate spirit.

4. What will you be showcasing at The Miami Fine Chocolate & Food Show? Any new products?

We’re very pleased and excited to present our newest creation of VEGAN-ORGANIC BON BONS that are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, fair-trade and organic too.

So many people are allergic to wheat and dairy and over the years I've received so many requests for chocolates to be created this way. Having been eating vegetarian and now lately, vegan- this seemed like a natural choice for me to translate some of my most popular bon bons into vegan creations without compromising the taste or the quality.

We’ll also be featuring our Hudson Valley Natural Bars- that are beautifully crafted artisan bars. Now available in 85 markets in the Northeast. We’re working on getting to more markets along the East coast too.

5. If you could only have one piece of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh dear God, how can you ask that question!? Impossible- but if I have to answer:

Le Claire Obsure Violette meaning “Violet Twilight” or the magic hour in the evening when all desired love sought after is made possible – as the golden hour of the sun sets and the emotional romance of the star begin to emerge into one’s heart- these two energies fill the heart and cause it to overflow with passion. Some say it’s just the chocolate- but I know better.

Two layers- Milk chocolate on the bottom and top is white chocolate infused with violet. The exterior is dark chocolate.

I’ll bet you’re hoping we’ll have some of that at the show! We’ll see- if my violets arrive in time from France- then the answer is “peut-etre”.