Meet Gabriela, founder, owner, and artisan chocolatier at Avenue des Chocolats.
Born in Romania, Gabriela grew up in Sweden. There she pursued a scientific career, while cultivating her love for beauty and creativity, whether by creating herself (clothes designing, drawing, photographing) or by seeking inspiration in others' work (architecture, jazz music, French cinema). After having earned a PhD degree in physics from Lund University, Gabriela decided to realize her dream of moving to France.
In Paris, Gabriela worked as a coordinator and manager of R&D projects, while taking time to savor la joie de vivre and her passion for all things French. Incidentally, this included a visit to the Paris' Salon du Chocolat in 2009.
In 2012, it was a yet another irresistible passion that urged Gabriela to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle down in North Carolina: her encounter with her American amour and future husband. In Wilmington Gabriela discovered her passion for cooking – as for enjoying good food, especially chocolaty desserts, that had always been the case! Gabriela also seized this opportunity to do some soul-searching and think of possible ways of reinventing herself. A chance encounter, or rather a “chance read” in a magazine about a former fashion merchandiser who had changed career paths to become an artisan chocolatier inspired her to take the leap and transform her passion for fine chocolate into an actual career. In January 2013 Gabriela enrolled in the Professional Chocolatier program of Ecole Chocolat, from which she graduated with honors. During the two years that followed Gabriela went on practicing chocolate bonbon making and creating her own original recipes, putting all her soul and, yes, passion into it. In January 2015, Avenue des Chocolats was born in Wilmington, NC. In April 2016, Avenue des Chocolats relocated to Raleigh, NC, and Gabriela is looking forward to the challenge of creating a new local following.
"Having the opportunity to take my passion for fine chocolate from the act of just enjoying savoring it, and further to creating my own exquisite flavors and ultimately sharing this passion with my clients by far exceeds my dreams of a challenging yet pleasant and gratifying occupation."
ABOUT OUR NAME:
Firstly, the name Avenue des Chocolats is a clin d’oeil to the pivotal role that Gabriela’s living in Paris for almost 10 years has played in her culinary awakening, especially with respect to all things chocolate.
Moreover, to Gabriela the word avenue immediately brings to mind Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris and, by extension, all the beauty and chic that Paris is known for. Gabriela wishes her clients’ experience with her chocolate bonbon selection to be like a stroll along the most beautiful (flavorful) avenue in the world, where you look left and right as you walk and you see one building (bonbon) more beautiful (tasty-looking) than the next, and where you can’t decide which is the most superb (delicious).
Last but not least, the name is also a reminder of a thorough self-guided Paris-chocolatier tour Gabriela made in October 2013, back when Avenue des Chocolats was still just a dream, equipped only with a metro ticket, a bottle of water, and a lot of gastronomic curiosity.
ABOUT OUR BONBON NAMES:
As to why our all our bonbons have French names? Well, can you think of a more poetic and romantic language, one whose vocabulary would be more appropriate for describing the sensuous world of fine chocolate?