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San Clemente Journal

Hand-made, Hand-packed, Hand-picked Chocolate on Del Mar

May 22, 2019 01:00PM ● By Nina Welch

Kim Maya, owner of Schmid’s Fine Chocolates on Avenida Del Mar.

by Nina Welch

Handmade, Hand-packed, Handpicked Chocolate on Del Mar
“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” 
― Katharine Hepburn

Who doesn’t love chocolate? You’d be surprised to hear that Kim Maya, owner of Schmid’s Fine Chocolates of San Clemente, knows someone who doesn’t love chocolate. In fact, “He hates the smell of chocolate,” says, Kim, ironically, about her husband, Bill, the non-chocolate lover. But that didn’t stop Kim from pursuing her dream of purchasing Schmid’s Fine Chocolates of San Clemente. Her husband might not like chocolate but he is always there to help when needed, especially during the holidays.

It all started when Swiss chocolatier Hermann Schmid, born in Luzern, Switzerland, began making chocolates as a young man learning from old world masters. He made truffles and confections his life work over the next 50 years. Kim was a devoted customer and frequent buyer of Hermann’s handmade chocolates, and when she offered to purchase the store, he stayed on to train her in the art of the chocolatier. He even taught her secret techniques.
A resident of San Clemente since 1989, Kim has owned the store for 15 years.  When asked how her store is different from other chocolate shops, Kim stated, “The product is made onsite, and we use Belgian chocolate, and custom molds for special requests.” 
Her employees, Janice and Henriette (originally from Belgium) are like family. Customers love buying beach-themed chocolates as gifts, and the variety of chocolates in the glass cases are beautiful. 

“Ten years ago, a man came in with a white envelope and written in pink were his wife’s favorite chocolates. He still brings that chocolate list in today,” says Janice, who has worked at Schmid’s since it opened in 2004.

Kim is proud of her arts boxes created by artist Rick Delanty, renowned San Clemente seascape artist and retired San Clemente High School teacher. These specialty boxes have a frame where the art postcard is inserted. Inside are sculpted chocolates in the shapes of starfish, seashells, and fish. Customers can create their own chocolate boxes by inserting photos in the frame for a special gift.

Holiday gifts are popular at Schmid’s including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and the Fourth of July. Favorites of customers are her chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas. Everyday is a holiday at Schmid’s Fine Chocolates because chocolate should always be celebrated.

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