How chocolate from SCV finds its way around the world.
Did you know that that tasty treat you find on your pillow at a fancy hotel is just one of many creamy confections made right here in the Santa Clarita Valley? Up in the hills of the Valencia Commerce Center, you'll find the Chocolates a la Carte factory. There, chocolatiers specially trained in the traditional techniques of making great chocolate whip up dazzling treats every day.
Chocolate, arriving in chip form, is melted down in large tanks before being distributed to the various crafting machines, where it is formed and molded. Some pieces may be printed with designs in a process similar to silk screening or embossed with cocoa butter, using all edible materials. The centerpiece of the factory floor is a giant conveyor system, capable of processing hundreds of thousands of pounds of chocolate. Among the machinery is an enrobing line, which lends a chocolate coating to anything the customer wants. Pretzels, nuts, and other foods are rapidly coated, cooled, and readied to ship.
The company provides both finished confections to major retail stores and unfinished molded forms for pastry chefs to build on. The hollow castings may later be stuffed with even more delicious goodies and become part of more intricate creations.
Malachi Kellar, mold shop supervisor, says he creates many molds by hand, sculpting or crafting them from foam or wood. The shapes are later translated into inverse molds using thermoform technology which creates thin plastic molds relatively quickly, speeding the transition from design to production. Some designs are also generated using computer software, which is especially useful when more than one type of chocolate is required in a piece.
Because these molds are destined for food, cooking spray is used to release molds once cast. Kellar says a lot of thought goes in to each step of the process.
"You can find [our chocolate] in the most unlikely of places," said Kellar. "The chocolate on your pillow, you wouldn't think, but we will literally custom design that."
Company Vice President Doug Pocrass, a second generation chocolatier, says his family's company moved out to Santa Clarita from the San Fernando Valley to get a little more open space for their growing business. In addition to domestic retail stores, the company ships it's treats all over the country and the world, supplying cruise lines, casinos, and resorts.
"You'll find our products everywhere from Wal-Mart to the Waldorf," said Pocrass. "Mostly during the holiday seasons. ... We ship chocolate all over the world, from anywhere here locally to as far as Dubai or Japan. If someone wants special chocolate, no matter where they are, we'll find a way to get it to them."
And chocolate fans in the local area can look forward to the factory store, which is open Wednesdays and Fridays during the holiday season. The factory store stocks a wide variety of the same confections that go out the door every day. Click here to check out their website. http://www.candymaker.com/ 
So when you're out and about, either in the valley or abroad, keep an eye out for these sweets crafted in our hometown.