At a time when ingredients like cardamom, chilis and fresh herbs simply weren’t found in American chocolate, a globetrotting chef dared to dream of an artisanal chocolate shop in the South.Tim Gearhart began his journey to chocolatier by wandering the world through its kitchens.
He toured the Far East as a Marine Corps cook, trained in pastry at the Culinary Institute
of America, and then honed his craft everywhere from an English castle to a Western dude
ranch. Inspired by his travels and eager to craft chocolates that reflected them, he returned
home to Virginia to set up shop amid Charlottesville’s emerging food scene.
Emboldened by the confidence of a fellow chef and former boss, Tim launched Gearharts
Fine Chocolates with Bill Hamilton in 2001. Outfitted with a small office kitchenette, and
armed with only two forks and a bowl, Tim hand-dipped about 700 pieces of chocolate a
day during that first holiday season.
While our need to create more than 13,000 chocolates a day has since forced the mechanics
to change, the recipes and handcrafted nature have remained. Fusing our own blend of the
world’s finest chocolate with local sweet cream and pure butter, we continue to craft our
original 16-piece signature line while also forging new territories along the path we helped
blaze. We temper our affection for tradition with our desire to surprise, and we work hard
to ensure that every piece carries the care that went into it.
Nearly 15 years in, Gearharts remains committed to the purity of our flavors and the
integrity of our nationally recognized products. We comb the globe for the very best it has
to offer, and we craft our world-class chocolates in the heart of Virginia.