Top Chocolatiers and Artisan Chocolate Makers Struggling to Keep Up with Demand on the Busiest Week of the Year, According to Ecole Chocolat

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Artisans at the top tier of the chocolate industry get a double whammy between escalating sales and production limitations.

Fran's Chocolates' puts up Sold Out sign on their website Dec 15.

Most chocolatiers are limited how much production they can cram into the time period of October to December.

“Chocolatiers and chocolate makers in the fine chocolate industry are struggling to keep up with demand as Christmas approaches,” says Pam Williams, President, Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts.

Products such as chocolate truffles, fruit caramels and other bonbons made from fresh ingredients using no preservatives can’t be made months in advance. According to Pam, “Most chocolatiers are limited how much production they can cram into the time period of October to December to support Holiday sales, especially this week.”

Wonder why your favorite chocolatier looks a little haggard right now? They probably haven’t had a day off since early October. For those working the fine chocolate business, the Holiday season starts with full-on production 12 or more hours a day in October which gradually morphs this week into full on sales 12 or more hours a day through to Dec 24.

Andrina Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates talks about the production and sales escalation to Christmas Day. “We have been working full out in our production facility this fall and thought we had enough stock but on December 15 we had to put up a SOLD OUT sign on our website,” says Andrina. “We just could not accept any more online orders.”

Artisan chocolate makers and distributors of fine chocolate to chocolatiers don’t have it any easier. By October most assume they will have made and shipped all chocolate orders to clients. But if a client underestimates sales, the phone starts ringing and on the other line is a hysterical chocolatier or retailer.

Dan Pearson of Marañón Chocolate relates the story of a client who didn’t anticipate how fast products made with Dan’s Fortunato #4 would sell. “Last week we had to ship 60 kilos of chocolate by overnight delivery – that cost our client almost as much as the chocolate itself”, Dan relates. He’s been working 7 days a week over the last two months to keep up.

Why all the fuss? So you run out of product this week? In the fine chocolate business, a good chunk of yearly sales and profit are done in November and December. This is Dan’s first full year in production and he says “I am amazed that 80% of my deliveries for the year have been requested for the October-December period. I keep thinking I’ve shipped my last box but then the phone rings, we hear a plaintiff ‘help me’ and we’re packing for shipping again.”

Founded in 2003, Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts offers a portfolio of programs for chocolate making — mastering techniques while gaining the expertise and business knowledge needed to become a professional chocolatier or chocolate maker. Ecole Chocolat’s founder Pam Williams is the recipient of the Award of Excellence in Service to the Industry from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association. See our website:

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