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Member Profiles

Amy Jo Pedone: Valenza Chocolatier

Academy Of Handmade

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business: VALENZA CHOCOLATIER® is an authentic Italian Inspired Artisan Chocolate and Confections business based in Costa Mesa, CA. Our award winning gourmet BONBONS, BARS and CONFECTIONS are handmade from the finest local and Italian imported ingredients paired with the purest single bean origin, fair trade chocolate and no added preservatives. We aspire to create a brief escape from “life” with each savory taste of the TRUE AMORE infused into our decadent creations. 

Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Jo (Valenza) Pedone made a 180-degree change from a successful thirteen-year career in commercial real estate lending into the confections and food industry without any prior formal training, experience, business relationships or product line. She developed a passion for chocolate over the course of her life while making various confections during the holidays with her mother. Shortly after the passing of her cousin to Ovarian cancer, she was inspired to live life with no regret and subsequently pursued her dream of becoming a certified chocolatier to then form her own company, Valenza Chocolatier.

Q: What are your favorite materials to work with? Finding a unique blend/pairing of traditional italian ingredients and fine chocolate.

Q: Who inspires you? Three strong women are my inspiration to pursue my passion for Valenza Chocolatier. My Italian Grandmother. My Mother. My Cousin who lost her fight to Ovarian Cancer at 37. All there are the driving force in the decision to remove myself from a corporate desk and live life with no regret.

Q: Name three guilty pleasures of yours: WINE. CHEESE. CHOCOLATE. PIZZA.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a maker or supporting makers? The moment someone takes their first bite! They have the "OMG" moment and then a big smile comes across their face. In that moment of bliss, all the hard works, late nights, sore hands make it ALL worth it!

Q: As a professional in the booming handmade economy, what part of your work do you find most difficult? Keeping my artisan business authentic as it grows, delegates, and hires new employees.

Q: What drives your creative process? My creative process is driven by taking Italian traditional chocolates and adding my twist!

Q: Where can people find your stuff? Valenza Chocolatier is an online chocolate shop. Place an order online for local delivery or shipping (months October - June) or pick up at the market at my commercial kitchen rental, The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa. A limited collection line is at The Hood and a few speciality markets in Orange Count...and growing!