Sweet Secrets Chocolate is an artisan chocolate company based in the Chicago area, specializing in chocolate covered pretzels, pretzel bark, chocolate pretzel pizzas and a growing list of unique chocolate offerings. The company was founded by Terri Kinney and Dede Barnicle, two friends with a passion for chocolate and an eye for detail. They combined their skills from The French Pastry School and business school and opened for business in 2008. Their chocolates are artfully made by hand. Each piece is finished to perfection using the finest ingredients and packaged with care. Sweet Secrets Chocolate creates unique, delicious and fun chocolate specialties that are sure to bring lots of smiles. The National Chocolate and Dessert Industry recognized Sweet Secrets Chocolate as an innovator in new product development. Chosen as a finalist for "Best New Product of the Year" Sweet Secrets stole the show with their chocolate Pretzel Pizza! The judges loved it, the media thought it was a "hit", and the chocolate lovers at the National Show lined up to have their picture taken with the chocolate Pretzel Pizza and the cool little chocolate-busting mallet. Truly a sweet success, Sweet Secrets Chocolate now distributes their products nationally.
Terri Kinney graduated from University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication and a minor in Economics. She went on to graduate work in healthcare administration at Benedictine University. Specializing in strategic planning and marketing, transitioning from healthcare to chocolate was a sweet change. She believes that hard work, dedication and quality products have helped Sweet Secrets Chocolate succeed. Most importantly, Terri says that she and co-founder Dede are “good friends who enjoy each other’s company and who each bring unique skills to the business.”
Dede Barnicle graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a minor in sociology. While still maintaining her nursing certifications, her love of all things chocolate finally prevailed. Dede fine-tuned her chocolate technique at The French Pastry School in Chicago where she received hands-on training from some of the best pastry chefs in the world. It was there where she learned how using the highest quality ingredients combined with skill and passion can make the very best chocolates.
The passion Terri and Dede have for their business is evident. But so to, is their dedication to community building. At Sweet Secrets, you won't find any automated chocolate making equipment. You will find people making products by hand. Investing in people. Creating. Educating. Encouraging. Celebrating.
Terri remains involved in contributing time and talent to several hospice organizations and veterans organizations. Dede supports organizations that aid women and children in crisis who are seeking safe shelter and much needed support services. As women business owners, you can also find Terri and Dede mentoring young entrepreneurs and speaking on a myriad of topics ranging from manufacturing to marketing.
The Pretzel Artists at Sweet Secrets Chocolate are creative and fun, with an eye for details. A truly happy, fun and delicious product all starts in the kitchen. Smiles in the kitchen will guarantee smiles when our products arrive!
Each pretzel rod and twist is dipped by hand in chocolate, cooled, and then dipped a second time. Only then is it ready to be topped with some of your favorite sweet goodies. A final layer of chocolate drizzle gives them the perfect finishing touch. The pretzel bark, chocolate bark, and chocolate Pretzel Pizzas are layered with just the right amount of pretzels, chocolate and fun toppings so they are perfect for your snacking pleasure. This isn't a job. . . it is an ART.
A lot goes on to make sure our business runs smoothly, our products get delivered perfectly and our customers are happy. Whether it's the salesperson who makes sure our products get in front of the right decision makers, the social media expert who posts and tweets and responds at all hours, the truck drivers and delivery personnel who hand deliver the tons of chocolate and supplies or pick up each outgoing order that we have personally filled and double checked, or the kind voices on the phone who answer questions, take orders, or just get to know our customers better . . . we are a great team and we work hard for YOU!