Photo by Richard Hurd
International “Rising Star” Chocolatier Has Officially Opened Its Doors on Madison’s East Side
CocoVaa Chocolatier will be hosting its grand opening and an all day open house of its new space at The Marling on Tuesday, December 18th from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. The event will include a ceremonial ribbon cutting by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and events throughout the day including a tempering
demonstration by master chocolatier and owner Vata Edari and a chocolate bar station where customers can choose inclusions for custom holiday bars.
The event is open to the public and will take place at CocoVaa Chocolatier, 1815 East Washington. Doors open at 10 a.m. with formal remarks and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m.
Speakers will include Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Alder Marsha Rummel, representative of District 6 where CocoVaa is based, Lynn Lee, head of the Marquette Neighborhood Association, and others. Lee says that the community is excited to have CocoVaa in the neighborhood. “The meticulous craftsmanship Vata applies to her chocolates synthesizes science and magic to create unique experiences Marquette neighbors can relate to. We are proud CocoVaa has found a home with us in the Marquette neighborhood.”
The Open House will feature guided tours throughout the day where Edari will share the backstories of her shop’s unique and unusual design elements, as well as information about her product and the science of chocolate.
Beginning as a hobby in the background of a solo law practice, Edari, a single mom, grew CocoVaa Chocolatier into an International award winning fine chocolate company in only two years. Known for her unique flavor profiles, her chocolate encased fruit infused caramels and whimsical designs, CocoVaa has
quickly gained a growing fan base of regulars on a regional and national level.
This past summer, she traveled to London with her kids to collect seventeen Academy awards at the prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards. Competing with well established fine chocolate companies from around the world, Edari was named an International Rising Star making her one of only a few American chocolatiers to ever make the Academy’s Roll of Honour Board. Edari returned from London to supervise the buildout of her new shop which was little more than a concrete slab at that point. Edari chose to build out in new construction and specifically chose The Marling for its location and its aesthetic appeal.
The developers of The Marling will be in attendance to celebrate the completion of the CocoVaa buildout. Dan Lipnick of Houston based M-M Properties expressed his excitement about the CocoVaa opening. “We are very excited to have the world renowned chocolatier as our first commercial tenant. Vata and her chocolate company, which has risen to some extraordinary heights in a very short period of time, really exemplifies the dynamic energy that made Madison appeal to us in the first place. We look forward to CocoVaa’s opening. It’s a grand occasion for us as well as the community as a whole.”
Mayor Paul Soglin states he plans to make an appearance to celebrate the accomplishments of Edari who is also the granddaughter of his long-time friend, the late Clarence Kailin, a well-known Madison social justice activist.
Edari says she’s overcome with emotion when she thinks about the unwavering support she’s received for her upstart chocolate company. “The buildout took longer than I expected and was much more expensive than I ever imagined. My biggest fear was that everyone would forget about me and I’d have trouble making the rent after pouring everything I have into this. However, the first day I opened a couple weeks ago, I had a line of regulars at the door waiting to get their favorite flavors. I didn’t advertise and I had no signage, yet they were there through word of mouth.” More than half of Edari’s customers are regulars.
Edari plans on having a special dedication at her opening to the trades she commissioned to build her new space. “This was a small job for some of these companies who pushed aside more lucrative jobs to take on the CocoVaa buildout. I’m eternally grateful to them and I think they should be recognized by the community for what they helped to build.”