Around Town

The Secret Chocolatier wants to know: How Southern is your chocolate?

Local confectioner The Secret Chocolatier thinks our New South City should have some traditional Southern confections, so it developed a special line of all-natural Southern Chocolates and introduced it in both Charlotte locations.


The backstory

Charlotte entrepreneurs Andy and Robin Ciordia started the popular confectioner, the Secret Chocolatier, together with Robin’s parents, Bill and Karen Dietz, in 2008. Their Cotswold location proved so popular they launched another shop in Ballantyne.



“One of my mentors and advisers asked me more than a year ago why we didn’t have a line of southern-inspired chocolates,” said Andy. “Bill is our pastry chef and head confectionaire. Together with assistant pastry chef Abby Wells and with input from all our family members, we’ve been experimenting with a number of flavors for the past year.”

The goods


Each new piece is inspired by flavor profiles and treats that are prominent in the South. Here is a rundown with descriptors provided by Wells, who said she was excited to introduce new flavors and special Valrhona chocolate into the mix in creating this new line.

Bananas Foster: A milk chocolate shell, fresh banana puree and dark rum.

Key Lime Pie: Creamy lime filling with a graham cracker crust in a white chocolate shell.

Sweet Tea: Dark chocolate shell with a black tea infused ganache similar to a truffle tinged with honey lemon curd for just the right sweet tea effect.

Coconut Crème Pie: Coconut milk and extract, white chocolate creamy center topped with shredded coconut.

Pecan Pie Bars: Bourbon, pecan pie filling, enrobed in dark chocolate.

Peach Pie: A seasonal treat made with local peaches, spices and white chocolate.

“These are the most blended products we’ve ever created,” said Bill. “It took more than a year to get the flavors just right. Every one took about five or six attempts to strike the perfect balance of flavors.”

So, how do they taste?

The Secret Chocolatier held a special tasting recently. When it comes to chocolate, I’m a purist and don’t usually deviate from straight dark and luscious.


The Secret Chocolatier won me over on the Pecan Pie Bars, however, with the rich pecan filling and just the right snap in the dark chocolate shell. Coconut Crème Pie was a close second for me as it represented one perfect bite of an almost ethereal tres leches quality to it.

Key Lime was tart and tangy with a nice graham cracker back finish.

Peach Pie was very Southern indeed – was that a hint of nutmeg?

Bananas Foster took me straight back to New Orleans and Sweet Tea lived up to its billing.

My wife tells me all the time I like everything and don’t discriminate very well.

Maybe so, but I’m betting I’m not the only Northerner lining up for these Southern treats – you’ll have to try for yourself to determine your favorites.


Read more from Michael Solender at and follow him on Twitter  @mjsolender.