Chocolate in the Pacific Northwest

As you may already know, the first series of novellas set in our Pacific Northwest town of Corsair’s Cove is located around Red Gem’s Chocolates, a confectionery shop on Water Street. The building in which the shop is housed was once a shipping warehouse; in fact, beams recovered from the wreck of the Belle Swift were used in its roof. This, of course, means that the spirit of the Wolf of the West is partially tied to the shop, with stunning results in book four, Kiss in the Dark.

But writing about the chocolate shop and all the yummy treats in its display cases made me think about other chocolatiers in the area. One of the earliest ones was Dilettante Chocolates in Seattle, which was originally founded by Julius Rudolf Franzen, who began his confectionery apprenticeship in 1898 and opened the Chocolate Truffle Company in Portland in 1912. The business was reinvented by Franzen’s great-nephew in 1976 and relocated in Seattle, where it is happily doing business today.

Inside Rogers Chocolates
Inside Rogers Chocolates

Visitors to Vancouver Island in Canada will recognize the Rogers Chocolates name and its iconic Art Nouveau logo. Its founder, Charles “Candy” Rogers, moved to Victoria from Massachusetts in 1885 and opened a greengrocer’s shop. It wasn’t long before he turned to chocolate, and upon inventing the Victoria Cream, became Canada’s first chocolatier. You can visit Roger’s Chocolates on Government Street or any one of its ten locations today—and you can still enjoy a Victoria Cream.

All this talk of chocolate is making me hungry. I’m heading up Water Street now to try one of Livy Tarbert’s new creations at Red Gem’s. Care to join me?

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