Our Story

barsCocoAmatrice is An Artisan Chocolate & Gelato Tasting Salon located in old town Paradise, California. We offer a distinctive choice in all things chocolate and focus on European flavors and textures that are artistically beautiful and positively delicious.  Our confections use much higher percentages of chocolate than traditionally found in the States. The Salon also features all-natural Gelatos, Sorbettos, French inspired Desserts, and Specialty Beverages.  We provide a unique gourmet experience in a lovely setting, perfect for families, meeting friends, hosting small gatherings or indulging in private culinary moments.


Clarice and KenCocoAmatrice was her idea, it all started with eating a chocolate bar inside the Luxembourg airport in 1977.  Clarice was a young teen, traveling Europe with a Christian youth group.

Arriving half-starved, with little money for extras, she had to make due until the all-inclusive dinner was provide much later that day.  Clarice purchased a dark chocolate bar knowing that this would be the most satisfying, enjoyable and economical way to remedy the situation.  And so the enchantment began!  During the month, she visited as many chocolateries and patisseries as she could manage, in every country she traveled, (France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria), making new chocolate memories along the way.  She sold her coveted, nearly worn-out Levis in France (a very funny story) to secure additional funds with the sole purpose of bringing back as many chocolate bars as possible.  Long story made shorter...when choosing a career path, becoming a Registered Nurse topped the list, a career Clarice still enjoys today.  Clarice never forgets her European chocolate experiences.  

Clarice was again amazed to taste European chocolate in 1991, only this time delivered by a handsome medical sales rep, named Ken who clamed “his mother in Magalia made it”.  Well, she actually did, so once again chocolate became important to the story and was pivotal to their courtship.  Ken and Clarice married in 1995 and Clarice became an apprentice of sorts to Ken’s mother, Ruth Smith of Classic Confections, in Magalia California.

In 2006, Clarice attended Richardson Researches, a Teaching Institute for The Confectionery and Chocolate Industries at University of California, Davis.  She learned about the art and science of chocolate.  She completed all Chocolate and Confectionery Technology courses offered.  The Gourmet Continental Chocolates course taught her how to create what she had savored in Europe 27 years before.  Clarice continued her studies by completing the Professional Chocolatier Program and Maitre Chocolatier Program, earning certificates of achievement, from Ecole Chocolate (link).  In 2006 and 2007 Clarice exhibited and won awards at the Paradise Chocolate Fest (link) in Paradise California.  In November 2007, CocoAmatrice, as a brand was born, and a retail location opened.  CocoAmatrice, co-owned with husband and business partner Ken is a family endeavor with meaningful ties to their Paradise and Chico communities.

CocoAmatrice pronounced: Coco-Ahh-Mah-Tree-Chay—an Italian word translated by definition meaning, a female lover of chocolate.  Clarice and Ken have a lovely Italian neighbor, Nona, whose native palate, Italian dictionary, and mouth-watering pasta dishes are invaluable…thanks Nona (more bout Nona and her cookbook…link)


Ken loves fine food.  He has had the pleasure of traveling the world and experiencing many different tastes and cultures.  Ken knows, as a business owner of 35 years, the importance of satisfied customers and this is his ultimate goal.  Ken is also CocoAmatrice’s resident Tea and Gelato expert and loves sharing his product knowledge with customers.  Do you have a question?  Just ask, you can learn about the gourmet confections you enjoy at CocoAmatrice.  Not only can you taste the difference, once you know more about how a specialty food is grown, who it is grown by, the process that occurs, appreciation is enhanced, the taste experience more meaningful and pleasurable.  

Ken wears many hats in this family business.  He is also a father, grandfather, experimental airplane builder and pilot.  In fact, Ken is a airplane-nut!  Let him know if you are too…you won’t be sorry.  Ken’s unyielding support and guidance has given flight to Clarice’s sweet chocolate dreams.  Ken is one of the good guys.  


Hannah’s beautiful smile, eagerness to help, warm personality and problem solving abilities make her an invaluable part of the CocoAmatrice team.  She has the uncanny ability to match the perfect chocolate gift to the occasion.  She also crafts the beautiful floral combinations and ribbon embellishments that CocoAmatrice is known for.  She’s a wiz with the blender and can create delicious recipes on the spot!  Hannah has been with CocoAmatrice since Valentines Day 2008.  She plans to backpack through Europe extensively next summer before returning to Chico State where she will earn her teaching credential, and ultimately teach the elementary school grade levels.


Dhara is the youngest member of the CocoAmatrice team.  She is growing-up in the business and learning about responsibility and customer service.  She has an appreciation for fine chocolate and wants to dispel the myth that “kids don’t appreciate the good stuff”.  She is quick and polite to respond, “ …when kids are exposed to the finer things in life, and given choices, they will often make wiser decisions ”.  We think that is pretty grown-up thinking for someone born in 1999.  Dhara wants to become a pastry chef.  She loves to learn by watching the Food Network.  Chef Duff is her favorite.  Someday, Dhara hopes to work alongside her older sister Shayna, who is a chef and culinary instructor in Chico (Shayna’s link)  

Our Mission and Beliefs….

Live and Work by the Golden Rule ~ Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Details Matter ~ Understanding where a product comes from, how it is grown and who benefits from the sale, helps us stay socially and ethically connected.  Consider the chocolate we enjoy.  It’s grown close to the equator, has traveled as many as three continents away and is harvested by indigenous people in third-world countries.  Food connects us. Ethics, sustainability, environmental responsibility are a part of our consciousness.  We make every attempt to partner with companies who think and operate at this level.

Quality is never overrated or under appreciated – There is value in the high quality of our specialty products.  We expect our prices will be higher because of our standards.  Our hope is that you appreciate quality as much as we do.

Success is not only determined by profitability but by customer loyalty and employee satisfaction ~ We realize that customers are not always right but we will treat them as if they are.  CocoAmatrice is not a perfect business but we strive for perfection anyway.  We value attitude as much as aptitude and are open to new ideas and continued learning.  

Our Mission and Beliefs help us stay focused so we can provide an outstanding culinary experience for our customers.