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Handcrafted specialty chocolates a hit at Roswell shop
by Joan Durbin
December 18, 2013 12:23 PM | 3707 views | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Natalya Shapiro’s shop, Chef Brulee Chocolates and Gateaux, opened five weeks ago in the small plaza at 1140 Alpharetta Street in Roswell, behind Lucky’s Burger & Brew. Customers discovered it almost immediately, and business has been unusually brisk for such a new venture.

“I’m a little scared, but it’s been wonderful,” Shapiro said with a smile.

At first glance, it seems the fancifully shaped and intricately colored morsels in the shop display cases are objects d’art, meant to be admired rather than eaten.

So beautifully made and exquisite to look at, it’s almost a shame to bite into one. But don’t hesitate, because once you’ve tasted one of Shapiro’s exceptional chocolate creations, you will never again be fully satisfied with lesser confections.

Shapiro has around three dozen varieties for sale, all in small shapes such as hearts, logs and cylinders. Each is glossy and decorated in multihued designs. I spotted one that looked exactly like a tiny cloisonné box.

Shapiro uses a ganache of high quality Belgian dark chocolate as a base, then invites a host of flavors to the party, ranging from favorites like raspberry, salted caramel and coffee to the more exotic, such as passion fruit, dulce de leche and key lime.

I particularly enjoyed Shapiro’s superlative combination of the Asian citrus called yuzu, chocolate and black pepper. It was absolutely marvelous. Next on my list to try will be one with lemon and mint.

It can take two to three days to make each type of chocolate. The inside of molds are painstakingly painted with food coloring and if need be, different layers of flavored fillings are added and solidify, then liquefied and tempered chocolate is carefully poured in. It all has to cool, harden and set before being put out for sale.

Shapiro doesn’t limit her wares to just the little confections. In one of the cases are all-chocolate sculptures she made of high heel shoes, a baby shoe and a cowboy boot, as well as a dumbbell and a Greco-Roman bust.

Originally, this was a hobby, Shapiro said. An aesthetician by profession, she decorated cakes and made small specialty desserts before moving on to chocolates.

She and her husband, Arthur, spent four years experimenting and perfecting recipes and techniques and selling their creations to friends and neighbors.

When she realized she wanted to expand the reach of the business, she went to Vancouver to take advanced classes at the Ecole Chocolate.

At first, she and Arthur thought they would just have a commercial kitchen and scouted locations.

“I have a friend who lives in Roswell who always tells us how beautiful Roswell is and how everybody there cares about you,” said Shapiro, an east Cobb resident.

“We were driving around here and spotted this empty space. It was enough to add on site retail sales.”

In addition to the chocolates, Shapiro bakes items like specialty cakes and other goodies to order as well as offering several small treats in her shop every day, like chocolate or coffee tarts and crème brulee. There are four window seats if customers want to sit down and devour their purchases with a freshly brewed cappuccino, latte or espresso.

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