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Where Now, Cacao?

Side Dishes: Montpelier Chocolate Factory leaves Montpelier


Published June 18, 2008 at 5:54 a.m.

Sorry, Capital City! Granola maker "Nutty" Steph Rieke, who also owns the Montpelier Chocolate Factory, is relocating her cocoa-rific production and retail operation to Camp Meade in Middlesex, right next to the Red Hen Baking Co.

"When I bought the chocolate factory in November, I moved it to my warehouse in haste," Rieke says. "But my warehouse isn't a production facility." After failing to find a new location in Montpelier, Rieke scouted out the nearby spot, where she says the landowners are "invested both financially and energy-wise" in making the collaboration work.

Rieke hasn't yet settled on a new name for the biz, which she doesn't want to yoke to a town where it no longer resides. But she is considering "Snozberry Chocolates," after a line from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Although she's moving her equipment next week, Rieke doesn't plan to open her store until September 9. She'll spend the summer building up her supply of dark, milk and white chocolate bars, with the goal of offering 99 flavors at her grand opening. "One woman suggested a guava-paste-and-cheese bar, so I might try that," Rieke muses. Her more standard offerings include coconut cappuccino and many fruit and nut combos.

Also in Rieke's plans is expanding an aspect of her business that she finds particularly enticing: selling chocolate wholesale to coffee shops and restaurants. Current customers include Viva Espresso, Espresso Bueno, Pauline's Café and her new neighbors at Red Hen.

Fans of Rieke's granola shouldn't worry: The cereal side of the business won't change a bit.