Todd and Michelle Zimmerman run Charm City Chocolates in Baltimore. (Courtesy photo)
After years of helping run the family chocolate business in Greenville, South Carolina, Todd and Michelle Zimmerman said they fell in love with the idea of starting their own chocolate shop in Baltimore. Earlier this year, they opened Charm City Chocolate with the idea of bringing uniqueness to every bite.
Before the shop’s February debut, the married couple worked in the local newspaper industry in Baltimore for more than 15 years; Michelle worked for The Baltimore Sun, and Todd worked for The Daily Record and the Baltimore Business Journal. Once closing that chapter in their lives, they explored another passion: culinary arts.
“We’ve always been food enthusiasts—always,” Michelle told the AFRO.
The couple enjoyed giving back to loved ones during the holidays, primarily during special holiday events for Todd’s family back in Greenville. Todd’s family owned their own chocolate shop for nearly a decade that offered family recipes, such as an Ohio concoction called the “Buckeye,” a confection made up of peanut butter, ganache and dark chocolate.
“I think chocolate really speaks to family celebrations,” said Michelle. “Things that are joyful, things that are celebrations and milestones that you would set in your life.”
It took several years for Todd and Michelle to find a perfect place for their own chocolate retail shop. Their shop is located in Hampden, a tight-knit neighborhood filled with small businesses that cater to food and wine enthusiasts as well as sweet lovers. In addition to numerous bars and restaurants in the area there is also an ice creamery, a doughnut shop and a crepe shop, among several others.
”We kind of got the range covered a bit,” said Michelle. “Well, there’s one that sells donuts and that’s great for breakfast. There’s one that serves ice-cream, that’s great for a treat and then there’s our shop which has chocolate, which is a perfect a gift and great for the holidays. And then there’s a place down the street that also serves pies.”
Charm City Chocolate covers a wide selection of handmade chocolate creations that bring back old memories to Michelle of when she was a child going to local corner candy shops. The couple wanted to bring a “retro” feel to the community and offer non-chocolate candies as well, including hard candies, candy corn and much more.
Some of their most popular confections are the buckeye, cordial cherries, salted caramels and practically anything made with peanut butter. Another favorite, is a recipe inspired by Marylanders, called the “Chesapeake crunch,” that is filled with a “savory hint” of crab seasonings. “It’s unusual, but delicious,” said Michelle.
There are more sweet desserts to come in the future with cupcakes and cookies on the agenda. Also, for those customers who are watching what they eat, vegan chocolates will soon come into existence. “We do plan to do vegan in the future,” she said. “It’s not what we know best, but we will.”
Charm City Chocolate offers walk-ins when placing special orders and also delivers from October to March.
Up next for the couple is the 23rd annual HONfest in Baltimore on June 11 and 12, covering four blocks along 36th street in Hampden. It’s a celebration of the Baltimore term, “hon,” which dates back to the hard-working women and pageants of the 1950s.
“We believe the most important element is the love that goes into each batch and the belief that ‘life is sweet, hon,’ said Michelle.
To find out more about Charm City Chocolate, visit their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit their website at charmcitychocolate.com.