Detroit isn't a city historically known for its artisanal chocolate scene, but when 27-year-old chocolatier Alexandra Clark moved back home there to open up a bonbon shop in 2014, she was determined to give the good people of Motor City the high-quality chocolates she thought they deserved. Now, just a year in, Bon Bon Bon is already growing: Clark’s chocolate shop features nearly 100 flavors (highlights include Mac ‘n Cheese, with a mascarpone ganache, and Coney Spice, with Mexican-style chocolate and hot dog chile spices) and has expanded to include a pop-up shop in Ann Arbor and a “manufactory” in Hamtramck, Mich., which is primarily used as a workshop. F&W talked to the chocolatier about her childhood candy dreams, the inspiration she draws from the people of her hometown and her visions for the future of Bon Bon Bon (or “Babes, Babes, Babes,” as they’re known around the neighborhood).
Where does your passion for chocolate come from, and why did you decide to go into the confection field?
My grandpa is one of a rare breed who will skip lunch and just eat two king-sized candy bars instead. To this day, his dining room is less table and more international candy buffet. He grew up in small-town Iowa during the depression and always tells this story about his dad spending his last two pennies on chocolate Santa Clauses for his sons for Christmas. To our family, chocolate is a big deal. So, when I left my first job at the family-owned ice cream shop down the street to start learning more about sweets in a more academic setting, they couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.