Shop Talk: Jaciva’s Chocolatier

Category: Chocolate

Owners: Jack and Iva Elmer
4733 S.E. Hawthorne, Portland, OR 97215
503-234-8115
In business since: 1986
www.jacivas.com

Chocolate philosophy: Because I have always had a passion for chocolate, this is a very special question for me. To me, chocolate is wonderful to enjoy and is fun to work with. If I didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t have been in the business for almost 40 years.

Inspiration: When I did my finishing school in Switzerland, I really fell in love with the Swiss way of making chocolate.

Training: In the late 1950’s, I attended Dunnwoody School of Baking in Minneapolis. In the mid-60’s I attended a konditor school at Richeont in Lucerne, Switzerland. In the early 1980’s I attended the Richardson Research on chocolate. My teacher was the great chocolate scientist, Dr. Bernard Minifie, who wrote the book called Chocolate, Cocoa and Confectionery: Science and Technology. He was an amazing man! Since then I have become a Certified Executive Pastry Chef through the ACF, a charter Master Baker through the RBA, and a Certified Master Chocolatier (one of the first four in America) through the RCI. I have won two gold medals in pastry, cake and chocolate competitions held by the ACF. I also won the Chefs Emeritus award and Professionalism award in the Oregon Chefs de Cuisine Society.

Business profile: In our bakery we have a full line pastry shop. We do not make breads. In our decorating department, we use a special molding chocolate which we make. It is mostly used on wedding cakes. We make our own marzipan. In our chocolate factory we make shell-molded chocolate, English toffee, peanut brittle, caramels, gourmet caramel nut corn and many more items. In our dessert café we serve beautifully plated, luscious desserts. Our location is 47 blocks east of downtown Portland. Our clients are both young and old. We have served two to three generations in some cases.

Pricing: If you buy our chocolates out of our case, you buy it by the piece. We make a 1-, 2-, 4-, 8-, 18- and 32-piece box. You can also buy truffles in an edible chocolate box—we are famous for these boxes. Our shell-molded chocolates sell for $1.60 each. There are 32 pieces to a pound of truffles. Our clusters and caramels are sold by the pound.

Varieties: We have 20 different kinds of shell-molded truffles in the chocolate factory, plus our clusters, both chocolate and plain caramels, plain and chocolate nut corn and English toffee. We make an all Oregon berries and hazelnut truffles box for our summer tourists and our winter Web site. During Thanksgiving we make a large turkey piñata that we fill with chocolate and candies.

Chocolate brands: In the early 1980’s I worked as a demonstrator for Guittard Chocolate. That started a long relationship with Guittard. In the late 80’s I also worked as a demonstrator for Lindt Chocolate. For our blend we use Guittard and Callebaut.

Signature chocolate: In our bakery I would say our 7th Heaven Tortes. In our chocolate factory it’s the Shell-Molded Fancy Truffles, and in our dessert café it’s our Swiss Meringue Glace.
Most unique piece: a hollow chocolate 8-inch peanut filled with peanut clusters.

Shipping: UPS—we only ship chocolates between the months of October and May.

How does your shop differ from others? We are very quality minded, we have high-end products and we concentrate on taste. We use lots of butter, heavy cream and really good eating chocolate. That is why our customers choose to shop in our store.

Mission statement: A quality business with a family atmosphere.