In 1985 Andrea Pedraza found herself in need of a little extra cash when a friend told her about a new chocolate shop that had just opened and was hiring. Going to the interview, Pedraza was hopeful, but didn't think working in a chocolate shop was realistic. Three weeks later, Rex Morgan, owner and namesake of the shop, took her under his wing, and she began an apprenticeship in the art of handmade European-style truffles and chocolates.
Pedraza quickly became fascinated with the long, rich story of her new craft.
"I started researching and learning the history behind the cacao bean," she says. "How in ancient times it was used as a currency, the many cups of chocolate Emperor Montezuma and the noblemen of the Aztec empire used to drink to keep their strength and gain wisdom. How chocolate was introduced into European royal houses, became known all over the world and the source of many love stories."
After working at Rex Morgan for more than two decades, in 2009 Pedraza opened her own chocolate shop, CocoAndré Chocolatier, at the corner of Tyler and Davis in Oak Cliff. There Pedraza and a small staff, including her daughter Cindy, craft 100 percent cocoa butter-based raw chocolate from Callebaut (Belgium) and Taza (Mexcio, Dominican Republic and Central America).
Recently the Dallas Museum of Art Boutique had CocoAndre create a line of limited-edition high-heel shoes to go along with the the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier from Sidewalk to Catwalk exhibit. And this past summer CocoAndré was one of two Texas chocolatiers to be selected to carry Marañón Chocolate, which was a thought-to-be-extinct Pure Nacional Cacao. They debuted the Fortunato No. 4 chocolate in 2-ounce bars and truffles in August as our fave Foodbitch told us about.
CocoAndré has more than 20 styles of truffles, including Cacauhatl, which is a chile truffle using Taza chocolate ganache infused with chipotle pepper and sprinkled with hint of chipotle. The Double Mocha Espresso is made with 80% extra dark chocolate; the Lemon Chiffon has a white chocolate ganache infused with fresh lemon and key lime and is covered in dark chocolate.
In addition to their retail store in north Oak Cliff, CocoAndré is sold at Eatzie's on Oak Lawn and all Central Market locations.