January 26, 2016 – Artisan chocolatier Jennifer Ashby is expanding her Scotts Valley operation and moving into the downtown Santa Cruz café space vacated by Mutari Hot Chocolate at the end of last year. To be called Ashby’s Chocolate Café, the cozy spot attached to the Food Lounge will feature drinking chocolates, European-style hot chocolates, espresso drinks and Ashby’s award-winning candies.
She is renovating the space and hopes to open as early as this weekend. “We tried serving hot chocolate at our Scotts Valley location, but there wasn’t a lot of traffic. I’m so happy to have a busier spot,” says Ashby, adding that the Scotts Valley location at Victor Square will remain open Thursday to Sunday. She will also continue to use the kitchen there for candy-making.
The café will serve four flavors of Cacoco drinking chocolates, a favorite at the Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market. The selection includes their original drinking chocolate, an extra dark variety, one with herbs and spices and a spicy hot flavor.
For the European hot chocolate, she will use the same chocolate used in making her confections—E. Guittard and Askenosi—topping each steaming cup with homemade marshmallows. Her favorite brew is a hot cocoa infused with fresh organic oranges.
Loose bon bons, boxed chocolates and some packaged treats will be on sale, and Ashby hopes to add dessert items, like her favorite Tiramisu, once things get rolling.