Painted Turtle Chocolatier isn’t like most chocolate shops in the area; their focus is on creating chocolate in small batches. “I’m what is called an artisan chocolate maker. That means that a lot of what we make is with our hands. We’re not a big manufacturing operation,” owner Patricia Godfrey says. “Everything we make is fresh. It’s not sitting on a shelf for six months before it goes into a retail shop.”
After originally opening in 2007, Painted Turtle Chocolatier moved from Plymouth to Osseo in 2015 and is celebrating its tenth year. “It’s unbelievable. It’s just going so fast,” Godfrey says. “It’s so nice to be in a little town.”
When you visit Painted Turtle Chocolatier, you aren’t just getting fresh chocolate—you’re also getting years of experience from an owner who has a real passion and talent for chocolate making. Godfrey worked with Pillsbury for 16 years and then moved on to Cargill, where she worked as director of nutrition. “I thought, you know, I think I’m going to putz around in chocolate. So, I started taking courses and then took a six-month course in becoming a chocolatier,” Godfrey says. “Then I went to Europe and would do internships in Tuscany, Paris, Belgium and Vancouver. And then by the time I had all this experience, I [thought] what am I going to do with it? I have to open a chocolate shop.”
Godfrey only buys around 500 pounds of chocolate at a time to create her treats. “It sounds like a lot but it disappears quickly,” she says. To create the chocolate, Godfrey melts it from little pellets using tempering machines she picked up in Italy. “One is for milk chocolate, one is for white chocolate and one is for dark chocolate. They hold about 50 pounds of chocolate each,” she explains.
After melting the chocolate, different molds are used to create the fun shapes. “We might make a golden retriever dog or we might make a snowman. We make thousands of bunnies,” Godfrey says. “Then, once in its chocolate mold, the shape sits in the refrigerator for about five minutes. Then we unmold it and pack it. Everything is just fresh and it’s so tasty.”
Painted Turtle creates a variety of different chocolates including truffles, caramel pecan turtles, chocolate suckers, chocolate covered potato chips and chocolate-dipped graham crackers.
“One of the things we’re known for is our truffles. We do a lot of different flavors of those,” Godfrey says. “Our top sellers are the caramel pecan turtle, sea salt caramels, nut clusters and potato chips. We can’t keep potato chips in the shop. As soon as we make them, they’re flying out the door.”
But Painted Turtle doesn’t just sell chocolate. “When we moved from Plymouth to Osseo, we were able to start producing gelato. So, we have about eight flavors of gelato every day,” Godfrey says.
“We also do a limited amount of pastries. We do some cookies. We usually have a brownie type. We also do different types of cupcakes,” she says. They’ve been known to do a bourbon brownie, a crème de menthe version and a turtle brownie. Cupcake flavors include carrot, lemon, red velvet and chocolate ganache.
Painted Turtle also works with people on a wide variety of events. “We just did a wedding event ... We made 1,600 chocolate dipped Oreos. Each person got two little bags of the chocolate dipped Oreos,” Godfrey says. The business is very seasonal and depends on the holidays. Chocolate season is from late September through late May because most of the major holidays occur then.
With Halloween around the corner, the chocolate shop has a bunch of spooky options for the holiday. “We have a witch sucker, a big pumpkin sucker, a bat sucker,” Godfrey says. “Then we also have spooky chocolate…a pumpkin, a skeleton and a ghost chocolate.” Painted Turtle also makes a three-dimensional pumpkin; you take the lid off the pumpkin and inside are small, bite-sized pumpkins.
If any of this is tickling your sweet tooth, you’re welcome to stop at the shop or make a purchase on their website. “We have a really beautiful website. About five percent of our products are online,” Godfrey says, adding that the majority of business is wholesale and retail. “Often what people will do is go online and decide ... what they’re really interested in. Then they come in. It’s like going to Target. You have one thing you want and you go out with a bagful.”
It’s clear Godfrey loves what she does and the community of Osseo appreciates her passion for quality chocolate. “We have a lot of people in Osseo who are pretty dedicated customers that come in once a week. We have a couple of ladies who get a couple packs of almond bark every week,” Godfrey says. “It’s a fun thing because you get to be creative and you make people happy.”
What's In A Name
Owner Patricia Godfrey explains:
When I was thinking of a name for my chocolate company, I made a list of about 20 ideas. I wanted a name that was unique and that people would remember. The first chocolates I made in my home kitchen were caramel pecan turtles. When I trained with a French chef, he taught me the art of painting chocolates. We painted small chocolate turtles with colored cocoa butter. I found the art of painting chocolates fascinating and experimented on different chocolates. One day when I was creating chocolates I thought, Painted Turtle Chocolatier—what a perfect name. Our signature chocolate is a mama turtle and two baby “turtlettes” we sell in a special gift box.
Chocolate by the Numbers
Artisans at Painted Turtle work in small batches, but use 10 times more chocolate during Christmas than in summer.
The earliest recorded consumption of chocolate, as a bitter beverage.
United States’ place in world-wide consumption (20 percent of all chocolate produced).
Dollars spent on chocolate by Americans in 2016.
Average annual American consumption of chocolate.
Companies that sell the most chocolate (Hershey and Mars).