Chocolate makes the world go ‘round. These are the words of self-professed chocoholic Kathleen Naomi Atkins. Kathleen and her husband Todd are the new owners of Xocodiva, Vallarta’s premier artisan chocolate company, and they will be joining the Olas Altas Farmers Market this season.
Kathleen’s journey to Puerto Vallarta and to become the owner of Xocodiva began when she was a child with her love for chocolate. “Chocolate has always been a favorite of mine,” says Kathleen.
She tells the story of how her dad would bring home Valentine’s Day candy for her, her sister and her mom and she would eat everyone’s chocolate. But it wasn’t until 2007 that Kathleen discovered really good chocolate at a Belgian chocolate store in Evanston, Illinois.
When Kathleen and Todd first came to Puerto Vallarta in May of 2016, they were dining in a restaurant on Basilio Badillo where they met another couple. As the conversation progressed, Kathleen explained that they were looking for a place to retire and maybe buy a small business. “Oh, well the chocolate shop next door is for sale,” the woman said.
The store was Xocodiva. Kathleen bought chocolates a few times at Xocodiva during that first trip and saw the sign in the window “How would you like to own a business in Mexico?”.
They thought about it, but they weren’t sure since it was their first time in Puerto Vallarta. After only four days they knew that Puerto Vallarta was the place they wanted to retire and they found a chocolate store to buy! They’d never been in a place with such an interesting, diverse and welcoming group of people.
Todd gave his business partner back in Chicago a nine months notice, and they sold their house in Chicago. Todd attended the Chocolate Academy chocolatier school in Chicago and was fascinated by the science behind making chocolate. “But,” Todd explains, “there’s also a real art to it. When it doesn’t do what want you want it to do, then you’ve got to figure things out.”
He says the heat and humidity in Puerto Vallarta affect the chocolate dramatically. “I’m still learning tricks as we go. I enjoy working with it. It’s very creative for me.”
Kathleen is also part of the creative process. She helps in the color selection and creating new flavors. The new flavors they will be introducing this season include, raspberry, limoncello, earl grey tea, and mint. They are also working on some other new flavors that will be a surprise.
The Xocodiva factory and shop is located at 368 Aquiles Serdan and is open on Wednesdays from 10 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 12 pm to 7 pm. Xocodiva chocolates are also available at the Botanical Gardens, Lujo Lifestyle in Bucerias and Petricor on Basilio Badillo. xocodiva-pv.com
We are very to welcome another new vendor to the Olas Altas Farmer’s Market. Yolanda Morales and her husband Gabino will be joining us this Saturday selling bags, wallets, coin purses and bracelets made of recycled materials.
Guest Vendors This Week
There will be two guest vendors at the rotating stands this Saturday. On the west side of the gazebo will be Jose Manuel Padilla Gonzales selling products made from recycled tires. On the east side will be Gabrielle Tenney selling seasonings.
If you’re looking for the perfect spot to enjoy traditional Mexican crafts, live music, and delicious artisan food, look no further than the Olas Altas Farmers’ Market. We offer 90 booths of “Handmade and Homegrown” goodies as well as prepared foods such as tamales, tacos, empanadas, homemade ice cream, paella and baked goods, all just steps away from the famous Los Muertos Beach. You can also find musical instruments, paper mache animals, bagels, soaps, jewelry, meat pies, clothes, fermented foods and vegan and vegetarian dishes.
The Olas Altas Farmers’ Market is a North American style market that celebrates the tradition and culture of Mexico’s outdoor tianguis markets. All OAFM products are either locally grown or handmade within 75 kilometers of the city.
We’re open from 9:30 to 2:00 pm every Saturday from the first Saturday in November to the last Saturday in April. We’re located in the Lazaro Cárdenas Park in Vallarta’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. For only 20 pesos an hour, you can park in the garage directly beneath the park.
By Mary Stehley