John Kelson and Kelly Green at their small handmade chocolate factory in West Hollywood. Photo by Westside People
Truffle fudge can change lives. Just ask John Kelson and Kelly Green who came across a recipe about eight years ago that launched a company. Each had corporate careers – John in luxury sales, Kelly in marketing – when they decided to start John Kelly Chocolates.
“We wanted it to be something that was fun and we could be passionate about,” Kelly says. “We love food and we love chocolate, and we came across this incredible recipe for truffle fudge.”
The pair had a friend willing to share a family recipe that Kelly says just blew them away. It would be this confection that developed into one of the few handmade gourmet fudge products to hit the chocolate world.
“It was so good that we thought if we branded it and marketed it and we sold it – the stuff we know how to do – then the recipe was pretty amazing on its own,” Kelly says.
Turns out they were right. From a tiny kitchen in West Hollywood, the company puts out about 7,000 pieces of its gourmet truffle fudge and other chocolate creations daily for distribution all over the country.
Locally, you can find John Kelly Chocolates at the company’s own stores in West Hollywood and Santa Monica as well as Nieman Marcus, Bristol Farms and hotels like JW Marriott and The Ritz Carlton.
The team improved its truffle fudge recipe over the years, now with 17 different varieties. They added different flavors, covered it with chocolate and began sprinkling exotic salt on top about five years ago when business really started to take off.
“We’re presenting fudge as a gourmet chocolate and nobody really does that,” Kelly says.
It was its dark truffle fudge with French grey sea salt combination in 2009 that earned John Kelly Chocolates one of the highest honors in gourmet food, a sofi Gold Award for outstanding chocolate.
“We really have a superior tasting line that compares to some very prestigious brands,” John says. “It’s never been about how to make more money. It’s been about providing the best tasting chocolate.”
John Kelly Chocolates
1111 ½ Montana Ave Santa Monica 310.899.0900
1508 N. Sierra Bonita Avenue, Los Angeles 323.851.3269