Dar Tavernier-Singer and John Singer started Tavernier Chocolates in 2014 making fresh, creative confections using the region’s bounty of farmed and foraged ingredients available to a wider, adventurous audience.
Dar comes from a food-centric family with a long history of creating chocolates and other confections. Growing up in the fertile St. Lawrence Valley where farms and foraged ingredients abound, Dar and her siblings were encouraged to act on their creative culinary impulses, baking bread, cookies and pastries, and cooking meals. The family table often included milk and cream from local dairy farmers, fruits and vegetables from area farms and orchards and their own garden, wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries picked trailside in the nearby northern Adirondacks, fresh caught trout from local lakes and streams, and venison, rabbit and pheasant that her father hunted and brought home (verily leading her to become a vegetarian for many years, but that’s another story).
Dar’s love of the outdoors led her to study biology and art as an undergraduate, doing fieldwork with a botany professor and drawing scale illustrations of the plants they studied for publication. Through college and ensuing years of working front and back of house in restaurants and cafés in New York State, San Francisco, the Czech Republic and Vermont, her experimentation with chocolate started in earnest in Brattleboro. In the early aughts, Dar began honing her truffle-making skills by tempering chocolate at home on a marble slab and refining her ganache recipes using ingredients from local farm stands and farmers markets. As our creative director she develops our recipes, creates our packaging and product design, and her background in biology, graphic and fine art is reflected in her approach to making confections.
John spent several years as head coffee roaster and manager at our local roasting shop when we first touched base in Brattleboro. His experience sourcing beans, cupping with leaders in the field like George Howell, and visiting coffee origins has provided a great background to working with chocolate. As our business and production manager, John’s years of leading small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area and Vermont has fueled our growth from a home-based business to our official launch in 2014 and continued growth today.
Bronwyn is an herbalist and a farmer with a passion for local foods. She has an extensive home apothecary which was inspired by her studies with Brittany Wood Nickerson of Thyme Herbal in Conway, MA. During the summer Bronwyn works on farms in the area and works on creating products for her fledgling herbal business, Deep Rooted Apothecary. Besides running our Factory Shop a few days a week during our busy seasons, Bronwyn also works with us behind the scenes with packaging, production and special projects.
Studying with master Japanese chef Hiroshi Hayashi at the Monadnock School for Natural Cooking and Philosophy, Chef Joseph has years of back-of-house experience under his belt, cooking at T.J Buckley’s and Letamaya in Brattleboro as well as a private chef, working in the specialty food and beverage industry for 27 years. Joe keeps us laughing and helps us with special projects and production.
Virginia was practically born drinking coffee. Well not actually but at age 14 was already deeply invested in drinking it when she was hired at Mocha Joes. Over the next 17 years she managed a few cafes (Northampton/Greenfield Coffee, The Lady Killigrew), moonlighted as a server at the Gill Tavern, worked on a coffee farm and a fruit farm in Kona, HI, contemplated opening her own shop and then went back to school for something completely different, Kinesiology. Now she periodically helps cover Farmers Markets and events for us, brings dog packs hiking, forages edibles in the woods of Western MA, hangs around on circus equipment and works on body related certifications at night. She enjoys seeking out finely tuned beverages/food and experimenting with some of the foraged foods she harvests.
We couldn’t do it without an amazing posse of talented people who help us out during our busiest seasons!