At the age of 19, Carmen Portillo left her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas and moved to London, England. While abroad, Carmen had her first handmade, gourmet chocolate truffle. Often she would frequent a tiny chocolate shop in Wimbledon and admired the craftsmanship of chocolatiers.
“It was always such a treat for me to pick out the most beautiful truffles.”
While in Europe, she traveled to Paris, France and caught the chocolate fever! When she returned home to Little Rock over a year later, she longed for that experience again, so she researched ways to learn the trade and techniques for making delicious, artisan truffles.
Carmen has gathered techniques from world renowned chefs and studied at the Notter School for Confectionary and Chocolate Arts in Orlando, Florida. This combined with a certificate from Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolate Arts, makes Carmen the first and only Certified Professional Chocolatier in the State of Arkansas.
“I want to marry my classically trained European chocolate making skills with my Southern roots. I want to create an experience through chocolate and make people smile when they think about Cocoa Belle Chocolates.”