In New Orleans, seasons can be practically indistinguishable, but not at Blue Frog Chocolates (5707 Magazine St., 269-5757; www.bluefrogchocolates.com). Fall brings a monthlong Choctober Fest, winter means chocolate menorahs and imported hot cocoa, and spring comes with milk chocolate-dipped marshmallow Peeps and imported Italian candy flower bouquets.
With its wall-to-wall selection of imported and domestically made confections for every season and its status as a top purveyor of chocolates molded into fleur de lis, crawfish and other New Orleans icons, Blue Frog Chocolates has become something owner Anne Streiffer never could have anticipated at its conception in 2000. The former geriatric nurse, along with her husband Rick, a physician, opened the store with no experience in candy or confections. They just wanted a business for retirement and a place for their grandchildren to visit them.
'We had no idea what [Blue Frog] was really going to be," she says. 'We had preconceived notions of it being a little mom-and-pop operation where people would buy a little chocolate and leave and hopefully come back again. The volume is much different than we anticipated; there are more corporate orders, more production. We have a lot of repeat customers, and we have the Web site business, which has blossomed."
In addition to its regular retail business, the Streiffers fulfill a number of custom orders. Wedding favors, chocolate wrapped in labels bearing customers' photos, overflowing gift baskets and intricate arrangements of Italian candy flowers are among the store's services.
Blue Frog carries a variety of imported candies including French chocolate maker CHOCOMOD's dark truffles rolled in cocoa powder, Mexican spiced cocoa, dulce de leche by La Salamandra of Argentina, and Bellagio Sipping Chocolate and Nutella spread from Italy. The store also has upcoming additions to its expanding repertoire of quirky candies, New Orleans icons and seasonal selections: peanut butter-and-jelly bonbons from the Norman Love line, Christmas-themed Italian candy flowers and chocolate Mardi Gras king cakes.
'We'll always have new, fun, innovative goodies to share with everyone," Anne says.
- You'll find an assortment of fine chocolates, specialty candies and sweet gift ideas at Blue Frog Chocolates.