The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy
In April 2013, when Valerie Herskowitz, a speech pathologist, pastry chef and chocolatier, was faced with the challenge of what she needed to do to help her son with autism, she decided to launch a home-based chocolate business. At that time, her son had just graduated high school and had no prospects of any program to attend post high school. In addition, he was showing an interest in the pastry arts. At first, they made treats for family and friends. But when that activity didn’t fill up his day, they decided to try and sell their confections online and at shows. That was when The Chocolate Spectrum was born. Soon, other parents of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities got wind of what Valerie was doing out of her home. They asked if their adult child could come over and help out.
In June of 2016, The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy opened in Jupiter Florida. In addition to online and show sales, they now have a chocolate café which serves all types of chocolates and chocolate-inspired pastries as well as a large selection of coffee and chocolate beverages. She has increased the chocolate, pastry, coffee and business social skills training programs for individuals with autism and other special needs, which she has secured grants for as well as charging a fee. They also offer chocolate and baking classes, field trips, parties and events to the general community in their production kitchen.