On Monday, I got the chance to visit with Danielle and Matthew White from Chocolatay Confections, a local candy company right here in Chapel Hill.

While Matthew and their two kids, Logan and Matus, played in the background, I sat down with Danielle to find out more about how their candy business came about. Chocolatay Confections started in their home kitchen after their son Matus, age two at the time, had a severe reaction to peanuts.  In 2009, there were little to no options for peanut and allergen-free candy. Not wanting to deprive their young son from the joys of eating these sweet treats, Matthew took his love of cooking and started experimenting with chocolate-making at home.

With encouragement by Danielle, Matthew took his chocolate-making hobby one step further and enrolled in the “Professional Chocolatier Program,” an online course at Ecole Chocolate, an award-winning confectionary school. Through this course, Matthew learned important skills, such as how to temper chocolate. Living in Brooklyn at the time, the couple packed up their bags and moved to Chapel Hill in 2012. Danielle is very enthusiastic about the city she now calls home, and is excited about the opportunities ahead as a small business owner.

With the idea to reinvent nostalgic chocolates, Matthew went back into the kitchen where he conceived Chocolaty’s best-selling sea salt caramels and peppermint patties, among many other allergen-free handmade chocolates. Using organic and local ingredients as much as possible – their all natural chocolates and confections are thoughtfully made with GMO-free ingredients

The sunflower cup, their version of the peanut butter cup, is made with sunflower and milk chocolate ganache with a hint of cayenne pepper. The sunflower cup is available in milk or dark chocolate, and each is equally irresistible.

During their journey to make safe yet still tasty treats for their son, they both fell in love with candy making.  For the first couple of years Danielle helped with packaging and marketing, but as Chocolaty Confections grew, a few more hands in the kitchen would definitely help.

“Matthew began to teach me how to make bon bons, chocolates and confections,” said Danielle. Now Danielle and Matthew collaborate together to make these delicious chocolates.  Turning their hobby into a full-time candy making business, they started selling these delectable chocolates at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market and then the Durham Farmers Market.

“The business has grown organically through word of mouth,” says Danielle. Chocolatay Confections will be moving into their first retail space in the brand new Blue Dogwood, a public market featuring fifteen small businesses with an emphasis on celebrating local food.  According to the Blue Dogwood website, the market will be opening soon in downtown Chapel Hill.

Until the Chocolatay shop opens at Blue Dogwood you can find them at the Durham Farmers’ Market and the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market, or order from their online shop. They are currently only shipping to the eastern half of the United States.

With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away you will want to get your orders in soon, currently offering seasonal bon bons and cherry cordials, the perfect gift for your Valentine.

Follow Chocolatay Confections on Instagram and Facebook.