Our day starts between 6:00 and 6:30am when Theo and Broma, our dark chocolate and white chocolate coloured Shar Pei’s, decide they can’t wait another moment to eat their breakfast. They are both from a rescue home and the colours were just a very appropriate coincidence. Talk about meant to be.

After breakfast the three of us set out on the task of getting everything ready to open Coastal Mist, our chocolate boutique 6 miles to the north of our micro farm in Bandon, Oregon. We are a very small operation with three partners, one full time kitchen employee and one part time employee at our retail shop.

Our daily routine doesn’t change much, the focus is always getting our freshly made products finished and to the shop for our customers. The volume definitely changes depending on the time of year.

This time of year is berry season so Kevin, our patissier/chocolatier/owner checks on the berry patches and vegetable plants and gets everything watered and tended to first thing in the morning.

Tara, our chef/owner heads to the kitchen to get sandwich bread baking as well as prepares salads, sides and sandwiches for the shop.

Nicole, one of our pastry chefs/owners, gets started on chocolates and desserts for our store. By about 8ish in the morning the three of us are busy at work in the kitchen getting everything ready for our shop, which opens at 11:00am on weekdays and 10:00am on weekends.

Today is a busy day as with the Fourth of July weekend only a few days away we are expecting a busy weekend with lots of tourists and locals alike pouring in to our shop.  We are coming in to our busy season so we carry about 15 types of desserts, 4-5 sandwiches, two sides and 1 or 2 entrée salads in the cold case. We also have about 50 different types of chocolates and other confections to choose from. There are many different chocolate treats to choose from including pralines, truffles, drinking chocolates and drinking caramels chocolate covered assorted marshmallows, dragées, caramels and chocolate caramel bars abound in our chocolate boutique on the coast. Everything is made from scratch and if possible grown either by us or as local as we can source quality products. Living on the Oregon coast and being so close to the Willamette and Umpqua valleys gives us a great abundance of produce to choose from.

One of our featured desserts today is a berry cream tart. Nicole started by baking off shortbread crust and adding to that our house-made vanilla pastry cream. It will be topped with the strawberries, pine berries, red, gold, pink and black raspberries that were picked this morning. It just doesn’t get any fresher than that. As the crop yield increases, some of our most perfect raspberries will be bathed in brandy for six months to ultimately end up as one of our raspberry cordial that will be sold around Valentine’s Day.

Mid-morning Tara loads up all the finished products we have been making all morning and heads to the shop. She will spend her day there taking care of customers and making sure everything is just perfect there.

Back at the kitchen Kevin and Nicole will work on wholesale orders for local restaurants and several other chocolate shops throughout the western United States. Kevin focuses on research and development of new ideas for our shop or a customised idea for a wholesale customer. Nicole focuses on bulk production. Both Tara and Kevin assist in production as needed. There is never a lull around here. The local orders are delivered personally by one of us and the others are packaged and shipped out.

Once early evening comes it’s time to call it a day to make dinner or go out to eat at one of our favourite local restaurants. We will often have special events at our shop but if not, it’s time for family time at the house, relax and get some sleep. The Shar Pei alarm clock can ring pretty early the next morning...