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Meet Dayleen Coleman of D’liteful Chocolat

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dayleen Coleman.

D’liteful Chocolat was born in a home kitchen in San Marcos, California when Dayleen realized her love and affinity for all things culinary. Determined to explore that most delectable of creative outlets, Dayleen moved to England, where she studied a myriad of culinary techniques at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in London. Upon completion of her studies, she immediately sought out and found opportunities to further her knowledge and skills within the demanding culinary industry. Through that experience, she found that her passion truly lay in the eternally-complex world that is chocolate making. Upon her return to the States, Dayleen wanted to share her love of patisserie and chocolate with her community by starting her own small business.

Founded only last year in 2017, D’liteful Chocolat has already established a reputation for exceptional quality and flavor. Carried by exclusive wineries and high-end boutiques, these hand-crafted, delectable chocolates are both unique and approachable, flavorful and, quite honestly, wonderful. Each time you bite into one of her chocolates, you can taste the love and attention Dayleen and her amazing staff put into each and every piece. Classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London, Dayleen brings to Southern California the best of European chocolate tradition, while infusing her own unique take on what makes chocolate special.

However, it should be noted that although D’liteful Chocolat has created a varied assortment of truffles and chocolates, salted caramels and more, there is another aspect of the business that should have you equally excited, for she was not only trained as a chocolatier but as a patisserie chef as well. Thanks to that training, she has crafted chocolate fondants that melt in your mouth with a sponge that is practically lighter than air, crême brûlée’s who’s custard is silky smooth, with a crisp sugar topping that provides a truly satisfying crunch. Each creation is honestly delightful, and can render even the harshest skeptic mute with bliss.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road, although the support of my family has helped make it easier. I was raised in a low-income community and put myself through college. My determination and belief I could do anything I set my mind to allowed me to take leaps of faith in my life and careers. My big opportunity happened when my husband, Curt’s work relocated us to England. In my late 30’s I wanted to do a complete career shift and basically start over in a very different field. I chose Le Cordon Bleu (LCB), London, even though I had to commute over 3 hours r/t 3-4 days per week while being a wife and a mom to two young girls.

Go big or go home, right? Although LCB and job opportunities while living in England provided me with a wonderful chef and chocolatier skills, I had no business experience. Through networking, a SCORE mentor, and help from my husband who has an MBA, I am learning on the job and successfully navigating through the business world. After only 6 months, I have wonderful employees, catering clients, retail partners, and students from the classes I teach. This spring we plan on moving away from a shared commercial kitchen to our own production facility in San Marcos. D’liteful Chocolat has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time but has a ways to go before I reach my overall goal of it being an authentic patisserie and cafe.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about D’liteful Chocolat – what should we know?
D’liteful Chocolat is a San Marcos based company that specializes in hand-crafted artisan fine chocolates and patisserie. Using a fusion of classical French techniques, latest trends, and our own flare along with all-natural, quality ingredients, we strive to create not only products we are proud of but something special our customers will love.

We are most known for our hand-crafted ganache filled dessert chocolates and truffles, as well as our custom, ganached special occasion cakes. Our personal approach allows for our customers to be active in the creative process to meet their specific likes, dietary needs, and style. My social work background facilitates my desire to listen and create what my customers want. Chocolate has given me the ability to make others happy, even if just for a short moment, which makes it all worthwhile.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have been very fortunate in the support I have received along the way, personally and professionally, from wonderful family, friends, and mentors. Since it would be a long list to name them all, I’ve narrowed it down to those who specifically have played a role in the creation of D’liteful Chocolat.

First and foremost, my husband of 17 years, Curt has been my biggest cheerleader and voice of reason. He has more confidence in me than I do, but he is also practical in making sound thought-out decisions. He keeps me focused on the big picture and not to rush things. His love and support keeps me going when things get really hard and sometimes discouraging.

My kiddos, Elizabeth (12) and Sidney (7) are my why. I am driven to show them that when you want something bad enough and willing to work really hard at it, you can achieve your dreams. They have been so patient and supportive of me going to culinary school, working long hours in industry, and now working endlessly on my business. They are so proud to tell people that their mom makes chocolates and love being my taste testers.

Tim and Whitney Vechik have been my friends since University and selflessly offered to help me however they could. Tim is an amazing photographer and has been the artistic mind of my website and marketing. He truly makes me and my creations look fabulous. His wife, Whitney has joined me in the kitchen and is both the best assistant and shrink I could ever want. I don’t know what I would do without my Ethel!

I have also been fortunate to get a terrific mentor through the SD SCORE program. Larry Destro understood what I want to create from our first conversation and his guidance in making financially sound decisions has benefited me and the company greatly. He is very wise and I smart to follow his advise.

My awesome fellow women in business, Regina Noetzoldt and Michelle Harvey have been amazing cheerleaders and encourage me every chance they have. They have both helped me navigate the world of professional networking, which I have found to be key in growth and success of the business.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Timothy Vechik

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