An antique pink door marks the entrance of the European chocolate shop on downtown Wayzata’s Lake Street. Step over the threshold into L’More Chocolat, where customers are drawn in through a portal festooned with wrought-iron hearts. True love comes by way of chocolate, in handmade truffles and other edible European treasures.
It feels like Valentine’s Day year-round here, or a quaint Parisian chocolaterie. Hearts and soft shades of pink are everywhere. The theme carries through every nook, cranny and morsel. Crystal chandeliers illuminate sweet delicacies in gilded cases and ornate table displays.
Former Minnetonka Beach resident Kathy Ehrmann, the owner of L’More, lives for chocolate and spreading its joy. Her biggest reward is seeing the happiness her confections bring to customers, even if it’s fleeting. L’More Chocolat officially opened last August but had been in the works for about a year. “I had this passion for chocolate for many years, but this was not my business,” Ehrmann explains.
It was a combination of events that led to Ehrmann’s decision to open the shop, including a longtime business colleague and friend who was diagnosed with cancer. “Her name was Becky, and we have a Becky bar here,” Ehrmann says. “We spent many hours talking about what you would do if you had more time … You realize when you go through an experience like that, you know that life is short.”
The spark that lit the fuse for her new shop? Ehrmann recalled her father’s passing at age 60, a milestone she was quickly approaching. She didn’t want to wait any longer to pursue her dream.
Ehrmann gave six months’ notice for her job. She made solid plans for a new business, taking strides to understand how other European-style candy shops work. During her transition, she started a new relationship, fell in love and got married. “You open your heart to what you really want and to the things that bring you joy in life, and joy comes to you,” she says.
Field research took her all over Europe. She discovered traditional candy shops and learned along the way. She took chocolatier courses in Switzerland and completed the Professional Chocolatier Program with Ecole Chocolat. And her background as a corporate realtor with plenty of business experience didn’t hurt either.
The shop’s namesake truffles are handmade, artfully rendered with painterly finishes. A dusting of glittery edible powder indicates the flavor: pastel green for Key lime pie, orange for creamsicle, red for kirschwasser and so on. The truffles are “always molded in a heart shape. That’s our brand. Our logo has a little heart in it,” Ehrmann says. “From a business standpoint, it allows us to keep the same set of molds and creates efficiencies that allow us to keep the cost down.”
Top-quality white, milk and dark chocolate is tempered with precise temperature control as it melts and is molded to perfection. The result is chocolate that shines and snaps, yet melts in the mouth. Housemade creamy ganache fills the center. With more than two dozen natural flavors, there are almost too many to try. A few popular ones to whet your appetite? How about St. Germain elderflower, French chartreuse, Italian tiramisu or Viennese almond?
As if that couldn’t please any sweet tooth, L’More Chocolat offers other sweets. Ehrmann’s painstaking procurement of French chocolates, confections and baked goods will impress any Francophile or foodie.
And truffles aren’t the only product to emerge from the L’More Chocolat kitchen. Even the coffee is a ground French blend. For another beverage, try traditional French drinking chocolate.
Look for dark chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, flourless chocolate cakes and other bakery sweets, all hand-crafted by pastry chef Stephanie Laing.
The French macarons hail from Nikkolette Krumheuer, a Twin Cities baker. Krumheuer produces award-winning macarons from her own kitchen. Fickle to prepare and fanciful to eat, macarons epitomize the French culinary ideal. Buttery-sweet ganache filling holds two spongy-crisp meringue cookies together. Selections vary and include raspberry, pink Champagne, lavender and vanilla as running favorites. Curious to learn the tricks of the macaron trade? L’More Chocolat regularly offers a hands-on cooking class.
Pale blue, art nouveau packaging decorates tins and boxes from Bélissaire Boissier. Boissier goes back to 1827, and the French confectioner has served royalty and garnered global accolades. Chocolate petals and ball candies from their kitchen are rare treats. Only a handful of other American shops sell the Boissier line, and Ehrmann visited their shop in Paris three times to earn permission to carry it.
The Consul General of France based in Chicago, Guillaume LaCroix, visited the shop after Ehrmann supplied Eiffel Tower–shaped chocolates for an event at the Guthrie and the dignitary took notice. “He came all the way over here. He flew in for a workshop in St. Paul, and before he left, he had to come here to the chocolate shop,” she says. “That just blew me away. He’s the nicest man.”
For Ehrmann, L’More Chocolat is a way to connect with others. She reaches out to everyone, young or old, walk-in customers or scheduled corporate clients, with the same dedication to attentiveness. “I get so much joy out of this. People say, ‘Aren’t you going to franchise someday?’ I don’t think about that now. I think about being part of this community. This lake is just like what you would see in Lucerne—the chocolate shop that overlooks the lake. It’s like in Zurich—the chocolatiers—it’s a European ideal setting. It’s part of this community,” she says.
L’More Chocolat is as European as Minnesota gets. The proof is on the wall, which features a gallery of chocolate shop storefronts in France, Belgium and Switzerland. A picture of L’More Chocolat would only complement the lineup.
“‘We get to go to the chocolate shop today!’ That’s how people feel when they come here. It’s a destination. It’s a place that they are happy to come into, and sometimes they just buy two pieces of chocolate,” she says. That’s plenty, Ehrmann says. Fin.
The Story of Chocolat
Fun facts about the history of our favorite treat.
– European chocolate dates back to the early 1600s. Its history is even earlier in Latin America.
– Chocolate was enjoyed as a drink for centuries.
– During the industrial revolution, technology advanced so chocolate could be tempered, melted and molded, then enjoyed later in solid form.
– Fierce competition during the Gilded Age created the need for product differentiation. Artists designed elaborate chocolate molds for stores to showcase their brands and entice more customers.
– During World Wars I and II, chocolate molds were buried to avoid being melted down for armament.
– Antique chocolate molds are rare.
– Fine chocolate is part of the routine in Europe. Quality chocolate shops are common, and some have been open for many generations.
Chocolate pairings for wine and beer.
L’More Chocolat holds classes and tastings, and many feature the shop’s signature truffles with beer and wine pairings. The chocolate happy hour tasting is a way to experience another side of chocolate, gain appreciation for its subtleties and connect with other enthusiasts. “We’re trying to create an alternative for a happy hour that some of the bars have in the area and have it be our chocolate bar,” Ehrmann says.
Chocolate, wine and beer were made for each other. Here are seven pairings to enjoy.
Caramel dark chocolate truffle with Stella Artois Belgian pilsner beer
Latte macchiato white and dark chocolate truffle with Guinness Draught stout beer
Prosecco dark chocolate truffle with La Marca prosecco
Strawberry milk chocolate truffle with Francois Montand Brut rose
Bartlett pear truffle with Faire La Fete Brut
Key lime pie white chocolate with French white Champagne
Peach velvet truffle with Famiglia Meschini chardonnay