After she graduated from high school, Alyssa Peterson lived in Germany for a time and fell in love with handcrafted confections and European drinking chocolate. So when the Baker City native was making plans to open an art gallery with her in-laws, her affection for chocolate rose to the top. “I had this passion in the back of my mind for chocolate, and when we were creating the space, I said now is the time.”
Peterson’s Gallery and Chocolatier opened in November of 2011 and features a different local artist each month. Visitors can view artwork while enjoying a cup of drinking chocolate (made to order from milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate or a combination) and host of confections — chocolate bars, chocolate squares, truffles, brittles, caramels and more.
“I make chocolate every day. I know it is fresh. I know when people are eating it it’s exactly how I want it,” Peterson says. She enjoys experimenting with new flavors and decorating each piece. “The process of making them is really special.”
Art is a personal element of the business for the family, too. Peterson herself specializes in painting and printmaking, and her brother-in-law, Shawn, is a sculptor. “We really wanted a space for us to be able to show our own work and show the artists of the area,” she says.
Until you can get out to Baker City yourself, here’s a bit of chocolate inspiration to meditate on.
Alyssa Peterson’s Top Five Signature Chocolates
1. Coffee Caramel: A dark chocolate coffee-infused ganache and soft caramel dipped in dark chocolate
2. Vanilla Creame: Butter ganache dipped in milk chocolate or molded dark chocolate
3. Strawberry Pate de Fruit: Jellie made from fresh seasonal strawberries in molded white or dark chocolate
4. Earl Gray and Orange Zest Dark Chocolate: Earl Gray-infused ganache dipped in dark chocolate
5. Hazelnut Gianduja: Hazelnut butter with a milk or dark chocolate dipped in milk or dark chocolate
Also look for the Pendleton Whiskey Caramel, which Peterson created for a local customer. Visit the gallery website and Facebook page for upcoming shows and to see what new treats Peterson has created.