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Erika Chavez-Graziano is a chocolatier. For most of us who are merely chocolate consumers, being a chocolatier is tantamount to being a chemist and an artist combined, but with a very finicky, yet delicious, medium. Erika is the owner of Cellar Door Chocolates in Butchertown Market. StyleBlueprint recently profiled her delicious holiday chocolates in this post. She hails from New Mexico, and that Southwestern culture influences her chocolates, with such delights as the Green Chile Coconut Truffle and Mexican Hot Chocolate.  

What do you do for a living?

I own and operate Cellar Door Chocolates. We are in our fifth year of business!

How do you balance your job and your personal life?

Not very well. My goal next year is to spend more time with my loved ones and to return their calls in a timely manner. It’s not that I am careless, it is just that the chocolate company consumes me.

What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?

I am not in control of others. I am only in control of myself and how I choose to react to those around me.

Who is your mentor?

Right now, I have several people I turn to for guidance; but the first person I turn to is Ed Tillett, my boyfriend of over 6 years. He is the voice of reason and the epitome of kindness. He grounds me.

What is best advice you have received in business?

Don’t be dumb.

If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?

I would love to be a family lawyer. And I really mean that. Sometimes I try to cook up ways I can still operate the business and go back to school.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I can fire a gun and hit my target.

What is your favorite place to go eat?

On a week day, I love to visit the guys at Hammerheads and order a PBLTBasa on the weekends for some Shaking Beef.

Where do you like to shop?

I really love Anthropologie. I shop at Work the Metal for gifts and I LOVE Cale & Cole. Julie’s jewelry is simply luxurious. Lotsa Pasta for imported prosciutto and cheeses.

What is a treat or a luxury you allow yourself?

Pedicures at Polished Salon. I also have no restraint when it comes to food. I will eat anything and everything.  Another thing I’ll have to change next year…

What is your weakness?

Human suffering and animal abuse. These two topics can reduce me to tears and anger in a matter of seconds.

What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?

I love to take walks in Cherokee Park. And eat. We really have some of the best restaurants in the country.

Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):

Lip balm, books and cartoons.

What are you reading right now?

The Emperor of Maladies and The Boy Kings of Texas.

What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).

Mirabo Walnut Cheese, Bobbie Brown Puffing Grains and Finnish Lapphunds (a breed of dog I love) – I’m getting one next year!

A huge thank you to Erika and her fantastic photo shoot and behind the scenes tour of where the chocolate magic happens. This was one of the most interesting and delicious photo shoots ever. I think Adele and I could have stayed all day talking to Erica and learning about her chocolates. For more information about Cellar Door Chocolates, visit them in Butchertown Market or click here.  (I recommend a personal visit, though.)

Adele Reding is the real magic behind FACES and I would like to personally thank her for all her hard work and incredible photography this year with our FACES. She is a true artist with her work. For more information on Adele or to see her portfolio, click here.

This will be the final FACES of Louisville for 2012. Stay tuned for more FACES next year in 2013. We are excited to unveil all the great women here in Louisville who are making a positive impact on our city.

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