Love is a beautiful thing. It’s an especially beautiful thing when it begets chocolate.
This is the love story of Daniel and Tamara Herskovic – the minds, hands and hearts behind Wisconsin-based Mayana Chocolate. It was conceived when Daniel, a restaurant chef-turned-private caterer met Tamara, an interior architect-turned-event planner behind the scenes at a function and fell hard for her beaming smile.
The pair married and started a business planning and executing elaborate dinners for high-end clients in Chicago. Daniel began making chocolates for the guests to take home as edible favors and became intent on mastering chocolate’s inherent fickleness. He turned to the pros, apprenticing under a half dozen chocolatiers in the U.S. and France. With his techniques and flavors refined (and his truffles no longer the size of golf balls), he tapped Tamara’s talent to make them as beautiful as they were tasty. They entered the Chicago Luxury Chocolate Salon in 2008 and walked away with seven awards – and a lot more confidence in their fledgling business.
These days, in Spooner, a town in the upper northwest corner of Wisconsin where Tamara’s family vacationed, the couple creates the kind of chocolate that dreams are made of: organic ingredients, no extracts and bearing designs almost too pretty to eat. Their bars, which are loose takes (not to mention, massive improvements) on childhood favorites, feature their fleur de sel-salted caramel and take three days to make. (They take significantly less time to inhale, mind you.) The box designs are Tamara’s handiwork and feature the teal, ochre and cocoa colors of the Mayan culture. A peek into the box’s little plastic window induces drooling. Cutting into the bars induces utter annihilation.
"Mayana" means "the future" in Spanish, and with the Herskovics’ obvious love for chocolate and for each other, it’s a sweet future indeed.