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Calgary's cōchu chocolatier wins international award

Anne Sellmer is the only Canadian to be named one of the 2017 International Chocolate Salon's top 10 best chocolatiers and confectioners in America.

Entrepreneur turns passion into business after staying home for 12 years to raise 3 sons

Anne Sellmer is the only Canadian to be named one of the 2017 International Chocolate Salon's top 10 best chocolatiers and confectioners in America. 0:30

A Calgary chocolatier's gin and tonic truffles have just won her fledgling business some major recognition in foodie circles.

Anne Sellmer is the only Canadian to be named one of the 2017 International Chocolate Salon's top 10 best chocolatiers and confectioners in America.

"My jaw hit the floor when I saw it," the six-star grand master chocolatier winner told CBC's The Homestretch.

After taking a 12-year self-proclaimed "hiatus" to stay home and raise her three kids, Sellmer recently decided it was time to dive into her passion for food and launch a home business. 

"We always teach our boys to find what they love, and figure out what they're passionate about and do that. I sort of stopped and thought about, 'Wait a second, I need to take my own advice.'"

The name of Sellmer's resulting venture, cōchu chocolatier, was inspired by the names of her three boys: Cole, Charlie and Hugo. 

Experimenting with flavour

Sellmer makes all of her chocolate in her basement kitchen.

The shelves there are lined with chocolate molds for her shell designs, which she hand paints with coloured cocoa butter and fills with ganaches, caramels and liquers. 

Anne Sellmer has turned her passion for chocolate into an award-winning business based out of her home kitchen. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

Sellmer says this latest award gives her nascent business real credibility in a city with many well-established and talented chocolatiers.

Still, she's focused on distinguishing her brand with unique flavour combinations, which includes experiments not only with Hawkins Cheezies, but also ingredients like sriracha, sea salt, nuts and sponge toffee. 

"It's spicy, and it's salty, and it's sweet, and crunchy and melty. It's so wonderful, and it's different," she said.

Despite having opened just recently, Sellmer is already tossing around ideas about expanding her small studio into a real storefront and hiring new staff. 

"I'm just getting orders left, right and center, and faster than I can produce. It's amazing. It's wonderful."


With files from The Homestretch and Mike Spenrath