Sweet Success: San Antonio Chocollazo Entrepreneur Swaps Corporate Gig for Food Truck Career

 

Mary Collazo of Chocollazo a food trolley in San Antonio Texas

Every month I do freelance work for a neighborhood paper produced by the Boerne Star down here in Texas. This article came out earlier this February, and I figured some of y’all would like to see the chocolate–especially on Valentine’s Day!

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Mary Collazo held a corporate gig at a large healthcare insurance company. “It was a good job, but I wasn’t passionate about it,” she said. “My husband encouraged me to seek out something that I would be passionate about. My options came down to cosmetology or culinary careers.”

She eventually narrowed her choices further, opting to pursue a trade based upon what she loves to eat: chocolate. Collazo signed up for a 9-month course with Ecole Chocolat, an Internet-based professional school for chocolatiers. “That gave me a good, solid foundation for recipe development and management,” she said.

Initially she envisioned opening a traditional chocolate shop. Then one day, while enjoying a meal at The Point Park & Eats on Boerne Stage Road, Collazo had an epiphany. “There are a lot of great food trucks, but there aren’t a lot of dessert options. I found a niche and just went for it.”

Chocollazo—a playful spin on the chocolatier’s last name—made its debut as a food trolley in July of 2013. By Christmas, Collazo had not only a tiny truck but also a website and a loyal following.

The secret to her success? She makes chocolates that she wants to eat.

Chocollazo Food Trolley in San Antonio Texas

“I know what I like, but in the beginning I wondered ‘Will others like it, too?’ They do. The reception to us has been overwhelming and we have fans of all ages, young and old.”

The Chocollazo food truck is at The Point most weekends, Friday through Sunday. The menu varies slightly each week, and popular items sell out quickly.

“We do truffles, handmade ones with Belgian chocolate and no preservatives. I typically have about 5 or 6 flavors available. We have the traditional options like raspberry and dark chocolate but we also have some distinctive options. Our most popular one is the bacon and German chocolate. It’s sweet and savory. It sells fast.”

Collazo and her team makes their own caramel and have been known to make truffles featuring Guinness beer. “Chocolate works well with so many different tastes and textures that we have a lot of options.”

Chocollazo Eclair Cake at Point Park And Eats Boerne Stage Road Leon Springs Texas

In addition to the truffles, Chocollazo offers a personal-sized fondue platter (with strawberries and homemade marshmallows) as well as éclair cake, chocolate baklava, and Nutella banana ice pops in the summer. “We also make a chipotle English toffee that is spicy and smoky,” said Collazo. “Oh, that one is really good.”

The desserts are affordable, with the prices ranging from $2 to $8. “Our most expensive item are the gourmet chocolate-covered apples,” she said.

For Valentine’s Day, Collazo is gearing up to sell truffles in 6-, 12-, or 24-count boxes and bouquets of chocolate covered, bacon, Oreos, and strawberries. “We have an online store, Chocollazo.com. And we deliver and can ship anywhere in the continental United States.” [ETA: Per the Chocollazo Facebook page, they stopped taking orders on Feb. 12 for delivery]

What is the advantage of giving a box of her sweets versus the heart-shaped boxes lining local store shelves this month?

“The good thing about our products is that they are all natural. We don’t use preservatives and all our products are gluten-free and handmade. Also, we use coconut oil for many of our truffles. That’s less fattening. Everything we make is fresh and natural. There’s no one-year shelf life on our chocolates because being perishable is the same thing as being fresh. And fresh tastes better.”

Among the chocolatier’s many fans is Denise Aguirre, co-owner of The Point Park. “We’re hosting a special Valentine’s Day course dinner at Taps y Tapas, our restaurant down in San Antonio [at 1012 N. Flores],” said Aguirre. “We’re pleased that the Chocollazo trolley will be there. Mary’s doing chocolate-covered bacon sticks for us. She takes her craft seriously, and it shows in her products and followers.”

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