If you’ve never tasted handcrafted artesian chocolate before, you must visit La Cascade du Chocolate. Owners Samantha and Andy Brown and Anna and Tom Nash have been crafting and molding authentic chocolate by hand since 2016. With their diverse backgrounds and the help of Seacoast SCORE, they’ve grown from a small in-home operation into two locations in Exeter and Portsmouth, NH.
La Cascade du Chocolate was born out of necessity and inspiration. In 2016 after their house burned down, Sam and Andy decided they had to take a leap into the unknown. As a Master chocolatier and a teacher, Sam and her husband decided that they weren’t going to let failure be an option. Sam went to France and received her Master Chocolatier Certificate and they went all in. “We wanted to bring something unique to NH,” she said. And she did. In addition to selling the most delicious chocolate in New England, they offer lessons if you wish to learn more about how to make bon bons, create chocolate sculptures, or paint edible art.
With the help of mentors, Rajeev Agarwal and Tim Heard they were able to make more confident strategic decisions about the direction of their business. “There was a point when we had to hire people. SCORE helped us delegate those tasks that were taking up our time so that we could focus on the business. They showed us what we could do better” says Sam. “We don’t just meet; we get email contact and it’s incredible that it’s a free service,” Sam says that while all four of her business partners are experts in what they do, no one has a background in business. “I’m pretty savvy with chocolate,” says Sam “but I’m not an expert in business”. She says that having a sounding board to help make decisions was invaluable to her team.
“For me opening up was easy, but for some people, it can be very scary to share their business information,” says Sam. “Just to have an outside person give you advice is invaluable and you won’t get that from your customers”.