Mini-empire-builder/restaurateur Chip Roman has reunited with a former Le Bec- Fin colleague, pastry chef Fred Ortega, and the decadent result is Conshohocken’s first artisanal chocolate shop. With a moniker that references the hard stone used for tempering chocolate, Tradestone Confections specializes in small batches and bold, sophisticated flavors.
The heavy-hitting duo’s cocoa-splashed haven is on Fayette Street, right next to Roman’s esteemed Blackfish. The quaint storefront boasts huge caloric possibili- ties, in the form of classic and eclectic bonbons, barks, bars, turtles, fruit jellies and more. Steamy La Colombe pours from a machine made in Italy, with coffee and wine pairings coming soon.
“You’ll find German, French, Belgian influences in my chocolates,” says Ortega, whose international career path took him to Germany, where he fell in love with pastry making. “Eventually, I want to work toward having a strong American influence, with regional [ingredients].”
Ortega’s ultra-creamy dark-chocolate truffles are handcrafted with high-grade French chocolate and local cream, and his buttery hunks of salted caramel are worthy of a cult following all their own. “Chocolate has been in my life for a long time,” he says. “Now, I finally get to focus on it.”
117 Fayette St., Conshohocken, (484) 368-3096, tradestoneconfections.com. Available at Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill.