Steamboat's Chocolate Soup shifts concept to concentrate on macaroons

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— The success of Chocolate Soup’s wholesale macaroon business has led owner Lisa Ciraldo to scale back the local commercial operation.

Ciraldo, who operates the macaroon business with Mary Ann Gunn, said the downtown Chocolate Soup Pastry Cafe now is Bella’s Creperie & Wine Bar and the mountain location now is Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen and Enzo’s Pizzeria Italiano.

Chocolate Soup also caters breads and desserts to about nine local restaurants.

“It was pretty overwhelming to try to do both spaces and the wholesale,” Ciraldo said. “It made sense to take care of our orders and utilize the mountain space for that.”

Ciraldo said her brother, Nick, who own’s Bella’s Wine Bar also will own and operate the creperie.

Chocolate Soup started selling its milk chocolate almond and dark chocolate pistachio macaroons and its Bella Luna graham crackers in September at four Whole Foods locations in the store’s Rocky Mountain region. Ciraldo said Chocolate Soup now is selling its macaroons, grahams and holiday cookies in about 20 Whole Foods stores, about two-thirds of its Rocky Mountain locations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Kansas.

“We’re really excited,” Ciraldo said. “We’re definitely a little overworked, but it’s worth it. We’re definitely moving forward, and that’s what we want to see.”

Chocolate Soup’s products also are sold at local stores Market on the Mountain, Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co. and The Homesteader.

Ciraldo said that other retailers have requested Chocolate Soup products but that they don’t have the capacity to expand. Ciraldo said she hopes to address that next quarter with the addition of more employees in production and marketing.

Regardless of its success, Ciraldo said the wholesale macaroon business, which takes up 60 to 70 percent of her time, never would leave Steamboat.

“I have big plans for our business in Steamboat. We’re really excited to expand here. That’s where we’re both raising our families.”

Bella’s Creperie — featuring crepes, soups, salads and coffees — is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and at 9 a.m. on weekends. The wine bar, which now has a small-plate tapas menu, is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen — featuring truffles, cakes and cookies — and Enzo’s Pizzeria Italiano will be open from 4 p.m. to about 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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