Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Chocolate-Filled Life - Part I

"There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles."

My first official 'Doing Work You Love' profile features the owners of a heavenly little shop in my community (just north of Chicago) called The Belgian Chocolatier Piron. Anyone who dedicates their life to chocolate is a-okay in my book (I am SO with you), so I wanted to seek out the Brothers Piron to discover what led to their sweet working life. I'm always fascinated to learn about the different paths people take to end up in a particular profession -- especially when those paths lead to chocolate.

As it turns out, Bob and Fred Piron never dreamed they'd be living la vie chocolat. Bob studied architecture early on and Fred worked in the worlds of photography and aviation. Nevertheless the two ultimately teamed up to produce some of the most decadent, mouth watering, beautiful chocolates this side of Belgium.

All Roads Lead To Chocolate

It all began in the early '80's when the building industry was faltering and Bob was rethinking a career in architecture. The Piron brothers' parents, who were originally from Belgium, suggested that Bob bring the art of European chocolate-making back to Chicago, and Bob jumped on the idea. He apprenticed with a master chocolatier in Antwerp, Belgium, and, after a year of intensive study, came home to put his newly-discovered talent and craft to work.

Bob first launched a wholesale operation in 1984, then in 1986, switched gears - opening The Belgian Chocolatier Piron as a retail establishment. Ten years later, in 1996, with Bob firmly established as the local master chocolatier, Fred came on board with extensive retail management experience, and together they saw their business grow.

Coming up...'A Chocolate Filled Life - Part II - 'Chocolate Immersion'

Good work until the next...


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Visit The Belgian Chocolatier Piron online at
Photo of Fred and Bob Piron courtesy of

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