Chocolate artist Willow Merritt is bringing small-batch artisan chocolate to the Wenatchee Valley through her company Yeti Chocolates. After realizing working in the restaurant industry was not for her, she dove into the chocolate-making world because the creative challenge intrigued her. She has been experimenting with all flavors of chocolate in her Rock Island commercial kitchen for over five years.
Who knew her college ceramic art piece of a snowboard boot with a Yeti popping out of the top would be the source of inspiration for her company's name?
Instead of taking the bean-to-bar manufacturing approach, Merritt considers herself to be a confectioner that creates artistic-style chocolates. She melts down already-made chocolates to create her own chocolate designs. When on the search for new flavor combinations, she uses The Flavor Bible as a reference to find inspiration for her own unique creations. Some of her flavor creations include Figjammin’; house-made fig jam with fig balsamic in a milk chocolate ganache and Apple Blossom; brown butter caramel with roasted apple ganache.
Willow Merritt doesn’t like to play it safe and is not afraid to step outside the box when it comes to creating the perfect flavor profile. “I create more unique pieces by experimenting with flavor combinations and work hard to make sure they're really BOLD,” Merritt said.
She enjoys the Cinnamon Toast Crunch (cinnamon caramel with cinnamon toast infused dark chocolate ganache and cinnamon toast crunch cereal mixed in for a crunchy bottom layer) for the fall because it evokes her childhood nostalgia.
Outside of making chocolates, Willow Merritt is dedicated to bettering the community by donating to organizations such as The Humane Society, CASA Advocates and TEAMS Learning Center. She partakes in Giving Tuesday where she chooses an organization to donate 10% of her chocolate sales. She also donated 20% of her sales from the Pride chocolate box in June to Wenatchee Pride.
Willow will be launching three to four classes in mid-October to early November including marshmallow, bark and caramel-making classes, which will take place at her production facility. You can register on her website here. If you can’t attend, Yeti Chocolates will be at Pybus Public Market on weekends throughout the fall and in the NW Chocolate Festival in Bellevue, WA on October 7th and 8th.
Even though Yeti Chocolates doesn’t have a storefront in Wenatchee yet, Merritt hopes to open a brick-and-mortar location to make her chocolates more accessible.
Until then, Yeti can deliver within the city of Wenatchee. Custom boxes are always available for purchase on their website.
The Visit Wenatchee Tasting Room will be hosting a wine-pairing event featuring Yeti Chocolate on October 20. Register at www.visitwenatchee.org/listing/taste-of-wenatchee-yeti-chocolate.