After traveling the globe, discovering and tasting new flavors, Tim opened his chocolate shop back in 2001 with an aim to produce the worlds finest chocolates with uncommon and sometimes surprising combinations. Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Tim is masterfully accomplishing his goal.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
Artisan chocolate was a relatively new concept in the late 90’s. We wanted to bring flavors and techniques that would peak people’s interest along with a “European “boutique feel.
Tell us about your products.
At Gearharts, we create confections of uncompromising quality, forging memorable combinations of flavors and textures with artisan craftsmanship. We blend the world's finest chocolate with local sweet cream and pure butter. Top-quality fruits, nuts, herbs, teas, spices, and liquors complete each piece as its finished by hand. We hope you enjoy the passion, care and attention to detail in every bite.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It has been important from day one to maintain what set us apart from the beginning. Our recipes did not change when going from 500 to 12000 pieces a day. While it is important to grow as a business, we did it slowly and carefully.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
Route 11 potato chips from Mt. Jackson Va.!
What Drew You To Food?
I loved the mismatched group of characters one could find in the kitchens of the 80’s. There was such great camaraderie.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
We say “ Inspired by the world, Crafted in Virginia”
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We have several products that revolve around beer in the works.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
I am a big fan of our Miso Caramel. It is basically a modern salted caramel. The natural saltiness and rich umami from white Miso paste really hits the mark with a final punch from toasted sesame seeds. It really walks the sweet and savory line.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Bison Burgers on the grill with a sweet chili sauce and pineapple
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Thomas Jefferson. Monticello is a local attraction and I would love to see what this country’s first “foodie” and wine snob thought of modern day chocolate.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
From my Dad - Surround yourself with the most talented people in your chosen field that you can find.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Jason Alley and Ian Boden, while they have very different styles, they are both at the top of their game and always capture my attention.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
I would go with grilled Hanger Steak topped with Stilton and local sweet corn on the cob with way too much butter.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
I don’t think anything brings me more happiness than a uninterrupted meal with my wife (which means sans kids) and centered around awesome cheese and charcuterie. I have to make it the whole meal now because I can’t control myself with it as an appetizer.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
Playing guitar and watching my son play hockey.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
The Commodores, of course
What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket?
An “adult” Hot Chocolate with a shot of Anejo Tequila, a dollop of whipped cream and topped with some toasted cacao nibs.