The old saying goes, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I say, if life hands you lemons, ask for chocolate instead. And if you ask chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt what he would do if he had both, he would probably create the world’s most incredible truffle you’ve ever tasted.
Knipschildt is the genius behind Chocopologie Café in Norwalk, CT, his newly permanent spot in New Haven which started as a pop-up shop, and his latest pop-up location in Greenwich, CT that will keep its doors open until April 7th. “It gives us an idea of the market and that’s why pop-up stores are great,” Knipschildt said.
I attended the grand opening of Chocopologie Greenwich last month, and had a perma-grin from the perfectly balanced sweet and savory truffles made with delicate flavors and unique combinations. The handcrafted confectionaries were displayed on smooth marble slabs and placed in elegant oversized glass jars you can envision yourself swimming in. Different styles of Lillian August chandeliers dangled from the ceiling offering just the right light for the chocolates, truffles and baked goods to shine. It’s amazing that this cozy store was put together in only a couple of weeks.
In an effort not to bombard the man of the hour with a Q and A session while he was making the rounds (And because I felt it would be slightly unprofessional to hold a conversation with a mouthful of irresistible chocolate all while trying to balance a truffle in each hand), I asked him if we could chat about his success at a later date. Below, some highlights of our conversation.
What led you to open your first Chocopologie café in Norwalk?
I always dreamed of having a good café. It was just a dream.
It looks like that dream came true on many levels. What are you most looking forward to with your new spaces and what is your ultimate vision for them?
The new prototype is to be just like the New Haven store. What’s good about that is that it’s really personal and I love that. I want it to scream chocolate and coziness and sharing desserts with the person you like. I want people feeling comfortable in the atmosphere. Just like enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine, there’s nothing like biting into an amazing piece of chocolate.
How did you pull Chocopologie Greenwich together so quickly?
We went to Bowery Restaurant Supply for refrigeration. Lillian August and Braswell have been extremely supportive.
How did you come up with the concept of the now trendy salted caramel truffle that is considered your most popular?
For me that’s all common sense. Having a savory background has helped me tremendously with making chocolate.
What is your favorite truffle and why?
I think the favorite changes each day depending on how I feel when I walk in.
Besides your seasonal additions such as the pumpkin pie and eggnog truffles offered at your opening, how frequently do you feature new combinations like the latest balsamic vinegar truffles?
I have to come up with seasonal pieces all the time. Constant innovation is necessary, especially for our retail costumers.
Kind of cliche, but where do you get your inspiration?
It’s easy. It just comes!
What does it mean for you to connect with your customers through your craft?
I really think it’s nice to see people come in here and get in a good mood.
At your opening you mentioned your desire to focus on desserts and steer away from the delicious savory food offered at your Norwalk spot. Why so?
I love the food, but when you say ‘Chocopologie’, what do you expect when you hear that? You expect chocolate, hot chocolate and pastries. The food makes it a little bit more complicated.
What can we look forward to next for Chocopologie?
Our next permanent location is in the works for Westchester, NY. The lease should go through in a few months.
Now wipe that drool off your face and visit Chocopologie’s latest pop-up store at 30 West Putman Ave. Greenwich, CT.
Look for Knipschildt Chocolatier’s chocolates at 400 retail locations including Balducci, Whole Foods, Dean and Deluca and Neiman Marcus.