‘My language of love is chocolate,’ says owner Kathy Ehrmann
Walk into the new L’More Chocolat shop off of Lake Street and you may be greeted with a “try this” and owner Kathy Ehrmann’s outstretched hand holding her latest creation – perhaps a latte macchiato flavored chocolate or a handmade, heart-shaped prosecco truffle.
At Ehrmann’s home, there are antique French posters advertising chocolate. And whenever her son visits from college, she’ll make sure there’s a chocolate waiting on his pillow.
“My language of love is chocolate,” she said.
Ehrmann, who lived in Minnetonka Beach for 25 years before moving to Minneapolis, still considers the Wayzata area as her community – she attends Wayzata Community Church and now commutes to the city every day to welcome customers into her chocolate shop.
“We want to help people understand within their palates what the different chocolates taste like, and then we want it to be fun,” she said.
L’More Chocolat debuted Aug. 5 at 633 Lake St. E. The opening, Ehrmann said, was the culmination of a lifelong love of chocolate.
“I’ve been planning and developing this whole concept a little bit all my life,” the storeowner said.
At only 900 square feet, the business has a quaint feeling, which is complimented by a sofa, take-a-book-leave-a-book bookcase and a row of seats for customers to sit and sample while watching what’s going on in the kitchen. Ehrmann said it’s all an attempt to recreate a true European Chocolate Shop in downtown Wayzata.
Ehrmann’s love for chocolate grew throughout years of international business trips during her commercial real estate career. Once a meeting was complete, she would seek out the city’s chocolate shops. She also took a European chocolate tour, where she visited 50 of the oldest and most famous chocolate shops in Bruges, Brussels, Lucerne, Paris and Zurich. She was also trained and certified as a chocolatier at Switzerland’s oldest and most prominent chocolate company and has completed the Professional Chocolatier Program with Ecole Chocolat chocolatier school.
“I traveled all through Europe, and I took classes over there to really figure it out. … You know, what kind of equipment do they have? What are their products? What are the lessons they’ve learned? Chocolatiers are passionate people, so they’ll tell you their stories,” she said.
After years of contemplating opening up her own chocolate shop, Ehrmann received a final dose of motivation while traveling on business in Paris. Ehrmann was walking just blocks away where the deadly terrorist attacks took place on Nov. 13, 2015. A few months later, she lost a business colleague and close friend to cancer.
“I realized life is short,” she said. “I thought, ‘Kathy, what are you doing? Your life is just passing you by,’ so, I resigned. I gave them six months to do a transition and I decided I’m just going to do it. ... The last step in any decision tree is a giant leap of faith. You can analyze things all day long, but at some point in your life you have to jump, so I jumped. I’m swimming in chocolate now.”
The goal for her shop, Ehrmann said, is to have people understand the many different types of chocolates and to find their favorite. The shop’s chocolate of the month program will feature a special chocolate or chocolatier from around the world.
“I’ve done tastings of chocolates from around the world, and I’ve picked about a dozen different kinds that I think are the best,” she said, adding that the shop also offers a selection of macarons and caramels.
The owner plans for the store to do about 50 percent of its business from sales inside the shop and other half through deals with companies and corporations.
L’More Chocolat will also host various social events and educational classes for adults and fun activities for children.
“The goal is to let people experience chocolate in a lot of different ways,” Ehrmann said.