Make your life delicious. That’s the motto of Detroit Chocolat, and, boy, are they living by it.
The first thing I notice upon entering Detroit Chocolat is the smell; though I arrive after they’ve finished most of their activity for the day, there is still a noticeable aroma of chocolate (an almost minty scent) in the air. This also happens to be the first thing that owner and founder, Casey Petz, notices each morning. It’s a smell he’s very well acquainted with, as he’s been in the chocolate business almost all his life.
Casey’s grandparents are the Morleys, who entered the confection business around 1919 and have since become a sweet-tooth staple (a photograph of them is next to the counter in Detroit Chocolat). Casey had worked in the family shops through youth, but took a short break from the chocolate industry to pursue a teaching career. After he and his wife experienced first-hand the uncertainty of a career in education, they decided to pursue a passion project (on top of continuing to teach). Thus, Detroit Chocolat was born.
So, why be called Detroit Chocolat when their location is actually in Sterling Heights? Casey says they get this question a lot.
Though he has left Detroit city proper and currently resides in the metro-Detroit suburbs, Casey says he always has and always will consider himself a Detroiter. A Detroit Chocolat location may not be in the city (yet), but the business is founded on the idea that Detroit is more than just its borders: it is about tradition, culture, and the people of metro-Detroit.
This is evident from the moment Casey starts the tour of the store. Detroit Chocolat’s walls are a veritable who’s-who of delicious Michigan products: Faygo and Boxed Water in a cooler, Germack snacks, McClure’s chips, Great Lakes Tea & Spice teas, Great Lakes Coffee (which I sip throughout our tour), Koeze’s Cream-Nut peanut butter, Better Made potato chips, Cherry Republic goodies, and more line the displays (Michigan-made popcorn will also be added to the mix soon). Casey says that these extras are so local that there is no shipping charge for their products: the manufacturers often deliver right to the Detroit Chocolat doorstep.
Once they hit the doorstep, they don’t just head straight for the shop walls: nearly all are used in Detroit Chocolat candy. From chocolate covered Swedish Fish, to chocolate with chips on top, to a chocolate covered s’more, to creations that I would never think of (but would absolutely indulge in), Detroit Chocolat has it all. And if they don’t have it, chances are good that they’ll make it for you.
As their motto is “Make your life delicious,” the folks at Detroit Chocolat frequently indulge their customers’ sweet-tooth ideas. Casey has done many wine and craft beer pairings with Detroit Chocolat candies (they even have awesome gift boxes of chocolates made to hang on a wine bottle-neck at the store). They filled many custom orders for creative Mother’s Day gifts this past month (Casey says this is their biggest holiday, continuing to surpass Valentine’s Day more and more every year–guess my mom isn’t the only one who loves chocolate). They recently produced gift bags for Chrysler featuring Detroit Chocolat candies (among other Michigan products). They allow customers to make their own candies daily. The gist: you want it, you got it.
You can also rest assure that your indulgence is a wholesome one, as nearly all of the Detroit Chocolat products are naturally grown, processed, and manufactured. I like to think it was this fact that comforted me as I devoured each of the treats I brought home from Detroit Chocolat–and let me tell you, as a girl who’s often said she’s not a chocolate person, my bounty from Detroit Chocolat has absolutely converted me.
Much as I may sing Detroit Chocolat’s praises in these six hundred odd words, it is something entirely different to hear the story from it’s owner. So if Casey is around when you do stop into Detroit Chocolat, be sure to chat him up. His passion for his craft and for his city is absolutely what makes Detroit Chocolat so sweet.
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