Cocobon Chocolatier: Dapper, Passionate, Southern
If You Only Have 60 Seconds…
- Cocobon Chocolatier, in Anderson, is making handmade chocolates and confections to satisfy any sweet tooth.
- Not only are they dedicated to their craft, but their Edwardian aesthetic makes their shop a destination.
- Cocobon is about emotion, you’ll feel the love and passion put into this chocolate
The morning I visited Cocobon could best be described as “brisk.” There was a chill in the air and the town of Anderson was putting up their Christmas decorations in preparation for the season (a little early to some, perfect to me). I had never actually been to Cocobon, but I heard that the shop was an experience. And it is; I felt as if I had been transported to another time.
Dapper in the Best Way
As I hefted open the door to the shop, I was instantly filled with delight. Picture the scene, whimsical green stripes adorn the walls, a vintage piano sits against the wall, eye-popping chocolate creations populate the room, but perhaps the most eye-catching thing is at the center of the room. A man wearing a buttoned-up vest (a chain extends from the pocket attached to what I can only imagine is a dapper pocket watch) and a bowler hat, bags up confections for the sweet lady at the counter. The whole thing is slightly surreal in the best way possible, like a scene from a movie.
This is my introduction to David Saidat, the proprietor of Cocobon Chocolatier. He is the well-dressed man behind the counter. After he finishes helping his customer, he introduces himself with a huge smile. He then gives the introduction to his son, Alec, who is standing behind a case of what I can only describe as some of the most gorgeous truffles and bonbons I have ever seen (we’ll get into the terminology a little bit later).
The store is a chocolate lover’s dream. But I had to know, how does one become a chocolatier? David has been making chocolate for 11 years, and he comes by it honestly. “Growing up, chocolate was always my comfort food. The chocolate company who I thought made the best chocolate went out of business, and so I knew I had to make my own.”
The road to Cocobon wasn’t paved with silky smooth chocolate, however. Saidat and his family moved to Anderson, SC to be closer to his in-laws. “We got as close to Georgia without actually having to be in Georgia.” At the early stages, Cocobon existed mostly in a wholesale capacity. That is until Cocobon landed its own kiosk in Anderson Mall. “This was the time for us to flesh out our products.” Through all of this, the perfect spot had been sitting on Main Street Anderson.
From the first time David saw the spot where Cocobon now calls home, he knew it was perfect. Unfortunately, through a business contest, the space went to another occupant. But with a bit of serendipity, the tenant contacted David about him taking over the storefront. To which he responded, “absolutely.” With a bit of TLC, the space acquired its distinct aesthetic. “My wife told me that the green and white stripes wouldn’t work and that it would turn people away,” David paused for a moment, “to that I told her “it’s my store.”
With the store’s unique décor, David is keeping with the history of the building. Clifton Reed sold pianos and organs from the location until 1915. In fact, the piano sitting against the wall was one that Reed had sold in 1903. Saidat wanted to pay homage to this history and so the store adopted the Edwardian style, even down to the uniform.
There is one thing that stands above the design of Cocobon, and that is the chocolate. “Everything is handmade. It’s what sets us apart. Our quality, and our flavor profile.” David explains the flavors at Cocobon as southern flavors. David and Alec are taking classic deserts, or confections and making them into unique truffles and bonbons. Now about that terminology. I’ll admit, I am a novice in chocolate (the irony here is that I am actually allergic to chocolate). A truffle is completely chocolate. So, the outside and the inside will be chocolate of some sort. A bonbon refers to any of the other little sweets they make. This can include nuts, toffee, fruits, or something with a liquid center.
Now that I knew the difference, I had to delve into some of the flavors they are concocting at Cocobon. David explains how many food trends play a part in the confections he creates. For example, the recent popularity of Cuban Coffee lent itself to the inception of a Cuban Coffee Truffle. One trend that hasn’t died? Salted caramel. David tells me that even today, that is one of the most popular items in the store. Cocobon also offers seasonal flavors. During my visit, they had both a Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Pie truffle. When asked what his favorite flavor was, David gave a small chuckle. “I’ll tell you what I tell everyone, I only make my favorites.”
Then came the hardest part of the interview, the tasting (don’t you love sarcasm). David and Alec were gracious enough to let us taste some of their chocolates. I say “us” because I also had a photographer on hand. Lucky for her, she is not allergic to possibly the greatest joy in life. The first thing she tried was an award-winning chocolate. Cocobon partnered with Split Creek farms to make a Double Latte truffle. Her reaction?
“I need this delivered to my house…daily.” Surprisingly, David and Alec were not fazed by this reaction. “We can do that.” Yes, Cocobon even offers delivery. Along with Split Creek Farms, Cocobon sources as many ingredients as they can locally.
They also let her taste test some of the seasonal varieties, which she raved about as well (I promise I am not bitter). I was able to try one thing. It was a white chocolate bonbon. A lemon chiffon one to be exact. It was sweet (without being too sweet), tart, and insanely luscious. The lemon cream filling was divine.
Little did we know, we had just participated in one of David’s favorite activities. “This is what it is all about, seeing people’s reactions to my chocolates.” David and Alec are putting their passion into the chocolates they are making, and they hope people taste that passion. “Chocolate is my passion, and I want to share it with you.” It is evident from my visit with David and Alec that they want to make people happy with their chocolate.
“They are all labors of love, and you can taste the difference.”
It is true. Cocobon is an experience. From the vintage décor to the friendly service, and definitely to the large selection of unique handmade confections. It is no wonder Cocobon has a following of devoted fans. What’s next for Cocobon? Even more innovation as the chocolatiers gear up to partner with an olive oil and vinegar purveyor for a special vinegar chocolate.
Cocobon Chocolatier is proof that when you put your love and passion into what you do, people will gravitate towards you. David himself says it best, “They are all labors of love, and you can taste the difference.”
For more information, checkout Cocobon Chocolatier’s website here.