WINTER GARDEN — Master chef Anna Kaebisch and her husband, Adolfo Burnett, celebrated the grand opening of Kaebisch Chocolate with free samples for the community March 20 in Winter Garden, exactly three months after opening their first U.S. location off Avalon Road.
The pair opened their other two stores in their hometown, Brasilia, Brazil, starting about seven years ago, Kaebisch said. They have brought unique Belgian chocolatier crafts and ideas to West Orange, their first store outside Brazil.
“This is our first grand opening, so we’re not really sure how things work, how many people are going to come,” Burnett said before hundreds of locals visited in the course of the three-hour grand opening, which started at 4 p.m. and included a ribbon-cutting with officials from the West Orange Chamber of Commerce around 5 p.m.
“We chose this date because it is the beginning of the spring, a very nice time,” Burnett said. “We are basically new, but we have for a long time liked this area. We like how it’s growing — it’s very good.”
The space the two chose in the Avamar Crossing shopping center on Marsh Road was ideal in providing a store where staff could produce chocolate on site and sell retail, Burnett said.
“Since the beginning, we were always thinking it should be nice to open a business in that area, and it’s nice to grow a business in this area, a place we like,” he said.
The store concept and slogan is “Have an experience with chocolate,” Burnett said.
“What is this experience with chocolate?” he asked rhetorically. “Everybody lives in a rush. Each day comes with less hours for everybody, but if you can just for five, 10 minutes stop your day, have a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate and feel good … take a break in the day, with a nice coffee and a nice chocolate, it’s going to be a very good experience.”
Kaebisch has always had a good experience with chocolate.
“I loved chocolate since I was born, I think,” she said. “It’s all about chocolate. We work with a special raw material from Belgium. It’s a little bit different: chocolate with no preservatives and more natural. We do all the chocolate pieces and bars and everything here, so it’s handmade.”
Also from Belgium is the mold they used to form a 40-pound hollow chocolate egg in three days. As for the raw material, it emanates from cocoa sources around the world, such as Central America, Ecuador, Madagascar and other areas of Africa, all fairly traded, Burnett said.
The coulpe also makes interesting flavor combinations with other natural ingredients, such as curry with coconut, Earl Grey and Caribbean espresso, a chocolate with coffee and a hint of rum that West Orange residents adore, Burnett said.
“When we make raspberry chocolate and others, we use real fruit,” he said. “Basil — we really use the leaves of the basil. Everything is made from scratch and the original raw material — no flavorings, no essences.”
Kaebisch and Burnett also offer cakes, pastries and coffee roasted in Orlando, and they are considering adding ice cream to their menu.
Other samples offered at the grand opening included solid dark and milk pieces, orange truffles and melted Brigadeiro, a Brazilian specialty.
With myriad flavors, a chocolate box makes an excellent gift any recipient will enjoy, Kaebisch said, just as the chef enjoyed creating it.
“I always have this dream to have something to work at I would like,” she said. “Some chocolates are just the same thing. Sometimes we’re traveling or in a different place and see something — ‘Oh, it would be nice to try something with this ingredient.’ Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
“What I really want is when you try a piece of chocolate, if you have basil, you have to feel the chocolate and the basil,” Kaebisch said. “If you have something with chili pepper, you have to feel the flavor of the chocolate and the flavor of the chili pepper. For me, it’s a pleasure to open a box of chocolate and really feel the flavors.”
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].