One Cape Coral woman is Southwest Florida’s version of Willy Wonka. Her gourmet chocolate business has been seeing sales soar from customers all over the world.
Barbara Dolleschal has developed the art of shipping her products in bulk. Her business, Zotter Chocolates, ships gourmet chocolates from Cape Coral.
“The chocolate, we make them from scratch in Austria, so it’s really a bean-to-bar chocolate maker, sourcing the cocoa beans from everywhere in the world, Fair Trade. The chocolate is made from scratch,” said Dolleschal.
Each chocolate bar has its own unique flavor and its own unique identity. “We have really fun flavors like butter caramel whiskey, raspberry, lime and passion fruit, hemp bonbon,” Dolleschal said.
She’s shipping about 150 boxes per day. The pandemic has barely made a dent in the chocolate business the way it has many others.
The National Confectioners Association actually saw an increase in chocolate sales this year. Dolleschal said she’s been following that trend.
“We saw a huge spike starting in April already, about 300%. It went up to 400% in May which was an extraordinarily strong month,” said Barbara Dolleschal.
With the holidays approaching, she expects business to pick up even more. “I think people crave chocolate more this time of year. It’s the traditional time where people gift a lot of chocolate,” said Dolleschal.
For her, getting the chance to source, make, and package her tasty chocolates isn’t about the money. For her, it’s about bringing sweet memories or experiences to the customer.
“We had a lady trying our raspberry bar, our labooko raspberry bar,” she said. “She was trying this chocolate and suddenly burst out in tears and started crying. We were standing there and no one knew what’s happening and she said she just had that flashback reminding it of her grandmother making raspberry jam. And she had that flavor in her mouth and she just couldn’t help herself and started crying.”
These reactions are the best treats for the queen of sweets.
While Zotter Chocolates says it hasn’t been financially hit by the pandemic, she has experienced some shipping delays. Hopefully, those are behind her since the busy holiday season is ahead.