The idea of opening a luxury chocolate shop on South Side's bar-laden East Carson Street might sound odd to some people. But Le Petit Chocolat owner Amanda Sougouna says her shop, which opened in June, is a welcome addition to the community.
"I've been welcomed by families who say, ‘Thank you for not being a bar,'" says Sougouna, who grew up two hours outside of Pittsburgh and attended the Culinary Institute.
Her shop offers artisan chocolates in 15 flavors, but Sougouna especially enjoys making customized flavors for her customers. Varieties include the coffee-flavored café armande, white chocolate-based coconut lime, spicy ginger rose and pistachio-topped toffee. Now that it's cold, Sougouna is also selling hot chocolate, and for the summer, she's considering gelato.
"There's nothing really like this in Pittsburgh," says Sougouna. "Part of the sparkle of what we do is I make everything by hand."
The chocolate's ingredients are locally sourced: The cream comes from Turner's Dairy in Penn Hills, the butter from Beaver Meadow, in her hometown of DuBois. The single-bean chocolate is fair trade.
Le Petit also offers private dipping parties where guests are invited to dunk fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts and pretzels into their choice of chocolate.
"I like the idea that moms and dads can come in with their kids, couples can come in on a date," Sougouna says. "It's something unique they can do."