It seems that chocolate on Valentine’s Day may actually be the answer to love – just ask Wolfeboro chocolate shop owner Jonathon Walpole.
Ever tried dark milk chocolate with pumpkin seeds and sea salt? How about white chocolate with crushed pine nuts or cayenne pepper? Probably not. But at Winnipesaukee Chocolates in Wolfeboro, those are just a few of the 25 custom bars offered – each made entirely by hand from the ingredient preparation to the final wrapping. And the proud owners/makers/flavor-tasters, Jonathon Walpole and Sally Cornwell, are this month’s NH Made member spotlight, the state-wide organization that champions New Hampshire-made products by providing the support programs that local businesses need to grow. Here, co-owner Jonathon Walpole speaks on how his longtime interest in crafting chocolate confections not only led him to love but to a career he’s wildly passionate about.
“I got into chocolate and cooking in general when I came home from college. I mean, I was still using my mother’s kitchen! I went from mastering truffles to chocolate bars and was always giving them as gifts. On Sally and I’s first Valentine’s Day together, I made her a batch of truffles. As we got more serious, I started to think of chocolate as a possible career path. Twelve years ago, we made the move to Lake Winnipesaukee, to the house I grew up in, and together started the business: Winnipesaukee Chocolates.
To this day, the chocolate bars are handmade from start to finish; we boil the chocolate, fill the molds, and wrap the bars ourselves. We work with 40 different chocolates across 25 bars we offer, each base created with completely different flavor notes and a distinct blend of chocolates. I didn’t realize when we started that blending different types is relatively unique in chocolate making. But we’re trying to create something where the whole is more than just the sum of the parts. After each bar’s base, we add inclusions to bring out flavors that you wouldn’t notice otherwise. The chocolates are like wine – some are earthier, some more fruity, and some more spicy. Just like red wine, you get all those flavors.
We just love where we’re rooted – the lake and the people here are so special – and we try to give back where we can. Ten percent of our profits go to local conservation efforts, and for the past three years, we’ve been a fully solar-powered business. We’re surrounded by great talent, the majority of our labels were created by local artists. Twelve years in and we still love it – who wouldn’t when you get to eat chocolate every day!?”