A New Orleans native, Cheryl Scripter worked in marketing for the manufacturing industry before returning home to pursue a new line of work. She started selling homemade chocolates casually to friends and neighbors and eventually, through a mixture of self-education and culinary classes, she learned to become a chocolatier. She was a vendor at the Crescent City Farmers Market for years before opening her own shop in Lakeview. Last year, she relocated Bittersweet Confections (725 Magazine St., 523-2626; www.bittersweetconfections.com) to the Warehouse District. Now, in addition to showcasing fine chocolates and custom cakes, Bittersweet Confections serves as a coffee shop, opening at 7:30 a.m. to serve handmade bagels and, on Saturdays, Belgian waffles.
You're around chocolate all day. Do you ever get sick of it?
Scripter: I have this weird fascination with chocolate. It was a passion that turned into an infatuation that has turned into craziness. I love eating it. At my house, I have chocolate from regions all over the world. I have friends who travel and I'm lucky because they always bring chocolate back for me. I'm easy to shop for. I won't even go on a trip without chocolate. I'm not like a smoker who needs a cigarette, but it's close.
You must encounter some pretty visceral responses from customers.
S: Well, many people do have a passion for chocolate. One of the nice things about my work is that when people come in my store, they're happy. They smell things that are delightful and see something pretty. We see a lot of smiles here.
You can get a chocolate bar just about anywhere. What makes something fine chocolate?
S: Chocolate is such a fun substance to work with because there are so many different types and percentages, and there are different needs too. I get to educate people. I can tell them about a type of chocolate, and they taste it and they realize why it tastes so much better than what you're going to get off the shelf. That's because it's made with natural ingredients. It's fun to taste this and taste that and learn the story of these different chocolates as they come from the cocoa plantation to the table. — IAN MCNULTY