Some Really Badass Female Chocolate Makers

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about Bar Au Chocolat, one of my favorite chocolate makers. It happens to be owned and operated by a woman, Nicole Trutanich. In the story I said that female chocolate makers are a rarity, a minority in a field almost completely dominated by white men.

I was talking about lone women chocolate makers, women who physically make the chocolate on their own and solely own their company. The good news is that there are many more of these women than I thought! Plus there are the many people who own companies with male partners: They might spend time working on machines, or they might keep the books, focus on marketing, or do any other number of tasks that are vital for running a business. That’s why this list includes both lone female makers and women who are part of a female-and-male team (many of them couples).

Many of these companies are brand new and pretty tiny; furthermore, most of the makers that experts consider the best in the business are owned and run by men. For example, at the 2016 Good Food Awards, no female-owned craft chocolate maker won any awards. Three out of 10, though, went to companies owned by a woman and a man (Fruition, Just Good Chocolate, and Ritual). Meanwhile at the International Chocolate Awards 2015 (the 2016 winners haven’t been announced yet), 18 American companies won awards: Only 3 of those were won by companies with female and male owners (Millcreek Cacao, Fruition, and Ritual) and only 3 were won by lone female chocolate makers (Starchild, Castronovo, and Ethereal).

Culled from your responses on Facebook to my piece and a story by Roxanne Browning, here’s an admittedly incomplete list of female chocolate makers in the U.S. This includes women who make chocolate on their own and who are part of a female-and-male team that makes chocolate together. (Thanks to Brady Belinski at for an amazing list and resource.) 

Sole Female Makers

Carol Morse at Acalli

Melanie Flores at Anahata

Nicole Trutanich Bar Au Chocolat

Peggy Bondurant Blue Scorcher

Regina Monaco at Bronx Grrl Chocolate

Jennifer Wicks at Burnt Fork Bend

Kristen Hard at Cacao Atlanta

Denise Castronovo at Castronovo Chocolate

Erika Chavez-Graziano at Cellar Door Chocolates

Carrie Anderson at Chocolate Compromiso

Patricia Tsai at Chocovivo

Karla McNeil-Rueda at Cru

Damaris Graves at Cultura Craft Chocolate

Lynn Kronschnabel at Del Sol

Laurie Rice at Dulcinea Craft Chocolate

Mary Ervin and Sara Miller at Ethereal Confections

Nichole Warner at Fresh Coast

Mackenzie at Map Chocolate

Katja Reitemeyer at Marin Munchies

Elena Sirignano at Mayacama

Daphne McClure at Moloa’a Bay

Makesha Duncan at Night Owl

Journey Shannon at Noir d’Ebine

Erin Andrews at Indi

Julie Waterman at Indulgence

Nancy Nadel at Oakland Chocolate Co.

Lisa Nelson at Roots

Julie McLean at Sibu Sura

Tracy Thompson at Sjolinds Chocolate

Samantha Fox at Source Chocolate

Kasey McCaslin at Stone Grindz

Rebecca Ankenbrand at Sweet Minou

Julie Farrell at Tease

Lauren Heineck at Wknd Chocolate


Female-and-Male Teams

Leslie and David Senk at Arete

Tamara and Zan at Batch Craft

Callie Neylan and Will Dixon at Bellflower

Tracey Britton and Eli Curtis at Bisou

Mary and Carl Matice at Cao Artisan

Debi and Ned Russell at Cello

Katherine Reed and Josiah Mayo at Chequessett

Janet, Tim, and Kevin Straub at Creo

Gila and Joel Dar at Dar

Joanne and Dan Sundell at Dark Forest

Jael and Dan Rattigan at French Broad

Renee Shuman and Logan Byrd at Frolic

Dahlia and Bryan Graham at Fruition

Sarah and Colin Hartman at Harper Macaw

Lauren Blanco and Preston Stewart at Hello Cocoa

Corey and David Menkes at LetterPress

Marlene and Paul Picton at Maverick

Stephanie and Andy Jackson at Middlebury

Dana Brewster and Mark DelVecchio at Millcreek Cacao Roasters

Barbara Wilson and Joe Meza at Mindo Chocolate Makers

Radinal Latuconsin and Yohanse Makmur Molucca

Katy Oursler and Stephen Beaumier at Mutari

Sandra Bedoya and David Mejia at Nibble

Alix and Toby Gadd at Nuance

Lisa and Jim Rast at Nutwhats

Tiffany and Ben Howard at Pinnacle

Rhonda, George, and Patrick Zender at Ranger

Anna Davies and Robbie Stout at Ritual

Celeste Walker and James Hull at Snake & Butterfly

Crisoire and Eric Reid at Spagnvola

Robin and Bob Williamson-Simoneaux at SRSLY 

Brittany and Ash Maki at Starchild

Tiffany and Richard Dull at Tchefuncte

Michelle Holland and Scott Moore Jr. at Tejas

Kristen and Josh at Terroir

Kristen and Adam Kavalier at Undone

Alison and Hans Westerink at Violet Sky

Paige and Bob Leavitt at Vivra

Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt at Xocolalt

Maureen and Jim Elitzak at Zak’s