“Chocolate is a jealous mistress,” said Rob Tschudin Lucheme—owner and head chocolatier at Tschudin Chocolates, on the corner Main Street and Court Street—as he mixed one of his concoctions. “It’s moody. It wants attention.”
Evening is always a busy time at Tschudin. Lucheme and three of his employees were bustling around the kitchen, scrambling to finish ten different tasks at once. But that didn’t stop them from talking to The Argus.
Tschudin Chocolates has been selling chocolates, cakes, and countless other treats in Middletown for two years. Since its founding, Tschudin has become a go-to spot in town—not only for chocolate fixes, but also for behind-the-scenes tours and tastings.
Or, as Lucheme and his employees have observed, first dates.
“What happens at Tschudin stays at Tschudin,” Lucheme said, laughing as he recalled male customers who treat a date to chocolate—and return some days later with a different girl.
Lucheme, complete with his chef’s hat and chocolate-spattered apron, was eager to talk about the art and science of chocolate. He explained the humidity conditions necessary for chocolate creation, and then launched into a detailed explanation of the crystal structures within chocolate.
“As science has developed, so has the understanding of chocolate,” he said.
None of this talk distracted Lucheme from his work. Lucheme is used to multitasking. He has dabbled in pretty much everything, from broadcast TV to sales negotiations to high-wire walking. Now, he operates a law practice in the morning and comes in to make chocolate in the afternoon. Working with chocolate, he says, is “way more fun” than law.
Tschudin is known for its striking flavors and artfully decorated desserts. One of its award-winning chocolates, “A Night in Tunisia,” is infused with the flavor of red chili peppers. The shop’s display cake features chocolate shoes and a number of other chocolate sculptures.
“We have customers who love to give us a challenge,” Lucheme said. “I’m on my seventh rendition of a camel.”
Lucheme usually has a few Wesleyan students on his staff.
“If you can do the work and want to learn, we’re here for you,” he said.
Lucheme explained that, for those interested in a career in the culinary arts, Tschudin is a great step towards further endeavors. Tschudin employees have gone on to study at major culinary schools and to work at hotels.
Lucheme said that all of the Tschudin employees try to give their customers the best experience possible. They allow children to go behind the counter for Wonka-esque tours.
“As they grow older, hopefully they’ll take away a good message from this,” said Lucheme. “Lots of people say, ‘Nah, they’re just kids.’ We like to treat them like young adults.”
Lucheme hopes to draw a larger Wesleyan crowd into Tschudin. He wants to see that number grow, although he understands that some students are on tight budgets.
“What we’re hoping is that eventually it becomes as much a part of the Wesleyan culture as Gatekeeper,” he joked.