Our Chocolate Philosophy
Our Mission at EHChocolatier is to create bonbons and confections that are the very best they can be. When you bite into our chocolate, we want to put a smile on your face! Freshness and flavor is what makes our chocolates stand out. That is why all of our products are handmade in small batches with attention and care given to each ingredient. Our ganaches are infused with natural, fresh and dried ingredients. No artificial flavors or preservatives are used. We use classic techniques and craft each chocolate by hand to create a perfect balance of flavor, texture and simple beauty.
Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney met in 1999 when a mutual friend asked them to bake a wedding cake and deliver it to Martha’s Vineyard. Neither of them had ever made a wedding cake, they didn’t know each other at all, and on top of that, it was hot outside. Not necessarily a recipe for success—for the cake or their relationship. But what could have been a total bomb turned out to be the beginning of a long friendship and, eventually, business partnership.
By working together, they were able to make a beautiful cake, deliver it safely and have some fun in the process. Elaine and Catharine knew from the outset that if they could pull that off, they could do almost anything together. And instead of allowing their differences to get in the way, they recognized early on that their complementary personalities allowed them to be stronger as a team than individually.
Over the years, Elaine called on Catharine often when she needed a partner to assist in her dessert catering business and their friendship grew. They began working in the kitchen more together, sharing a passion for getting things just right, like when they obsessed over the packaging for holiday presents for friends and family.
Eventually Elaine persuaded Catharine to make the leap from cooking together for fun to creating a business they could share. EHChocolatier opened in 2010 and since then, their love of working together in the kitchen to make beautiful and delicious food has only grown.
Today Elaine and Catharine channel their creativity and craft into producing unique, high-quality confections for EHChocolatier. No detail is too small for them to perfect, from rigorous testing of shipping methods and developing new products to selecting ingredients that align with their values. Elaine and Catharine love putting a personal touch on their confections, like using Rishi Teas, made in Catharine’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisc., to recreate an early grey bonbon that made Catharine swoon.
When Elaine and Catharine first opened EHChocolatier, they envisioned having a brick and mortar shop with a large kitchen. After five years, they realized it’s the big kitchen that they need … and already have. Not wanting to leave their home base in Somerville, Mass., a hub for artisan food, Elaine and Catharine invite visitors into their kitchen to get a glimpse at how the confections are crafted and meet the makers themselves. You can learn more about stopping by on the Visit Us page.
In the five years since EHChocolatier produced its first confections, it has been recognized numerous times for its special products. It was named “Best Chocolate” in Boston Magazine’s 2014 and 2015 Best of Boston awards, the “Best Chocolate in the U.S.” by Food and Wine, listed by Fodor’s Travel as one of the “Best American Chocolate Shops,” been highlighted in the “Editor’s Choice Food Awards - Chocolate and Candy” by Yankee Magazine and been named “Best in the Box” by the New York Times.
EHChocolatier’s growth and accolades have only inspired Elaine and Catharine to remain dedicated to producing chocolates of the highest quality … and to continue having fun together in the kitchen. While choosing a favorite confection might be akin to picking a favorite child, Elaine is partial to the rochers, toffee and tart cherry bites, while Catharine can’t say no to her beloved chocolate chew.
Elaine Hsieh (2nd from left)
As a young child, Elaine Hsieh (pronounced SEE-ya) began her long journey and love of good food with her first Easy Bake Oven. Soon to follow were Jello parfaits layered with Cool Whip and Instant Chocolate Pudding, Cherry Jello and fruit "cocktail", Betty Crocker Snickerdoodles, and flaming jelly muffins in Home Ec. (Luckily) at the pinnacle of her youthful baking career, Elaine stepped away, deciding to pursue a career in medicine as a physician. Alas, not much delicious or yummy occurred in that particular profession and Elaine was drawn back to her first passion – making and eating good food.
Elaine received her training as a professional chef through the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a professional chocolatier through Ecole Chocolat in Vancouver, BC.
As one of the oldest in a very large family, Catharine grew up cooking for a crowd. Her mother was a wonderful cook and learning from her enlivened her passion for preparing good food, especially desserts. After leaving home she continued learning about food and nutrition through classes and traveling the world. While having a particular interest in simple nutritious food, her passion was for chocolate. While raising her daughter, she earned her living in academic administration and upon leaving, decided to devote her full attention to sharing with others the joy of chocolate!
Catharine is a self-taught chocolatier, who continues to learn through practice.
When Shing isn’t being the CPO (chief packing officer) at the kitchen, you’ll find her behind her magnifiers creating jewelry, obsessively knitting, reluctantly stomping up hills behind her boys, and eating great food!
Karen SweeneyKaren Sweeney Chun enjoys working side by side with her sister at EHChocolatier. She finds the time a welcome break from her busy life as a mother of 5 year old twin boys and career as a Physician Assistant in family medicine.