A local graduate of Gaithersburg’s L’Academie de Cuisine is bringing some spice to the world of handmade chocolates.
Gaithersburg resident Phyllis Farzan said she started out at L’Academie with intricately-designed cakes and towering pastries, but they weren’t her favorite type of food.
“I always gravitated toward the chocolate,” she said.
Last year, Farzan started a home business called Papillon Chocolate Studio. She experiments with flavors like honey, cinnamon, passion fruit and marzipan and chocolates from France, Belgium, Switzerland and the U.S.
A few months ago, she started selling the small, truffle-sized chocolates on Saturdays at Montgomery Village’s farmers market. She said she brings about 15 different varieties of her chocolates to sell there.
A variety that combines apricot, walnut and dark chocolate has been a “very popular” one at the market, Farzan said. A truffle she calls “Double Shot,” which has a coffee flavor and a single coffee bean on top, is also a crowd favorite.
“I want them to taste good, but I want them to be beautiful as well,” she said.
One of her truffles has small pink flower petals drawn on top with a green stem. That variety, called “Taite’s Charm,” is named after a 7-year-old Montgomery Village resident.
Tammy MacLaren, Taite’s mother, said her children spotted Farzan’s chocolates at the market. After one of them struck up a conversation with Farzan, they were fast friends.
“They fell in love with the chocolate lady,” MacLaren said. Taite likes coffee and mint, Farzan said, so she tried to craft a truffle that included those flavors. The end product included hazelnut, dark chocolate, mint and espresso.
Taite’s brother, 9-year-old Griffen, also got his own chocolate. Farzan created “Griffen’s Grand Caramel” with cinnamon, espresso and dark chocolate.
Her four children are loyal customers, MacLaren said. When the market was open on Saturdays, they would start talking about it on Thursdays.
One of her children “once weeded the backyard to earn enough to buy Phyllis’ chocolates,” MacLaren said.
Farzan said her holiday-themed varieties will include combinations of cloves and figs with chocolate. She said mixing flavors and trying new things are what she enjoys about her business.
“It’s just something that I’ve really loved doing,” she said.
To learn about additional venues to purchase Farzan’s chocolates, contact her at PapillonChoc@verizon.net.