Continuing our series of profiles of women in chocolate, this week we’re meeting Gail Ambrosius of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in Madison, Wisconsin. She opened up her business in 2004, and sells a wide variety of chocolate treats, including bars, truffles, chocolate-dipped fruits.
Gail believes in chocolate’s power to bring joy to people’s lives. Her love of chocolate is lifelong, having grown up enjoying her mother’s homemade chocolate pudding. Now that she is a professional chocolatier, she says, “it is great to be a part of [the Madison] community and share the passion of the joy chocolate brings to our community.”
Gail believes that chocolate requires dedication and focus. She has studied chocolate through online courses and in France, and considers herself a “lifelong student” of chocolate. One silver lining of owning a chocolate business during a pandemic and economic shutdown is that she has “learned once again the pleasure of working with very focused and laser like attention to ensure every chocolate is as it should be. We have become very efficient with our production by focusing on our core products.”
In addition to being able to slow down and smell the chocolate, so to speak, Gail has also taken this time to connect virtually with her community: “We are staying connected with our customers through social media, interacting with them and getting their support and encouragement really helps!”
Gail has deepened her knowledge of chocolate through travel. Her chocolate journey began on a high school trip to Paris, where she ate her first dark chocolate. She also considers her trips to visit and thank the farmers in equatorial countries who grow the cacao beans to be among the most rewarding parts of working in chocolate. She wishes that more people knew that chocolate “is grown by hardworking family farmers in countries 20 degrees north or south of the Equator. Also, the process that it takes to turn cacao beans that grow inside of pods that grow on trees into chocolate. From harvest to fermenting, drying, roasting, grinding, and then refining into chocolate... it takes much work to mine this gold.”
Finally, Gail encourages other aspiring women in chocolate to “Work hard, do your homework, learn the art and the science of chocolate, and love what you do! Live all your dreams and love all your chocolates.”