A Chocolate Legacy Continues at Casa de Chocolates in Berkeley

Casa de Chocolates co-founder Amelia Garcia (center) passes the chocolate molino to the Berkeley shop’s new co-owners Linda Sanchez (right) and Jesus Chavez. (Photo courtesy of Casa des Chocolates)


The first Latin American–inspired chocolate store in the Bay Area has changed hands and is now owned by its first employees, Jesus Chavez and Linda Sanchez.

“There is a rich history here,” says Chavez. “Having been part of it from the beginning, and connected all these years to Casa de Chocolates, I am proud to partner with Linda Sanchez and continue its legacy.”

Since 2012, when Amelia Garcia and Arcadia Gallardo first opened the doors to Casa de Chocolates at 2629 Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, this unique shop has honored the Mesoamerican origins of chocolate with high-quality chocolate products and desserts and creative Latin American–inspired flavor combinations. Garcia, who continued to run the shop for over a decade, is pleased to pass the molino (the traditional baton used to whip up chocolate drinks) as well as the shop’s keys to Sanchez and Chavez.

“Linda and Jesus are rooted in community and are committed to continuing the legacy of Casa de Chocolates while making it their own,” Garcia says.

These new co-owners are not new to the shop. Sanchez and Chavez first became involved as volunteers in 2011 when Casa de Chocolates was just a pop-up. They were UC Berkeley undergraduate students at the time and eager to learn from their mentors, who began teaching them about the history of chocolate, the chocolate business model, and chocolate and dessert- making skills as the two became employees at the shop. Sanchez helped run the kitchen for over six years, learning the recipes (like the champurrado below) that have delighted the Casa’s customers.

“I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to be entrusted with Casa de Chocolates,” says Sanchez. “In this next stage of growth, we will continue to prioritize our commitment to elevate the Indigenous roots of chocolate, using the highest quality of sustainably sourced and organic ingredients, and partnering with mission-aligned entrepreneurs for business collaborations.”

Departing owner Amelia Garcia says that throughout its history, Casa de Chocolates has remained grounded in honoring the profound history of chocolate while sharing and celebrating Latin American culture. She’s also proud that Casa de Chocolates will remain a family-owned business in the hands of stewards that come from the local immigrant, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.

Read our 2012 story that covered Casa de Chocolates (along with other local purveyors) shortly after the shop first opened.


Scroll down for a recipe for champurrado, a favorite drink in the Latin-American world as well as at Casa des Chocolates in Berkeley. At right, Amelia Garcia uses the wooden molino to make some champurrado. (Photos by Kristina Sepetys)



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Champurrado from Casa de Chocolates

  • Yield: Serves 4


This recipe was inspired by a version created at Casa de Chocolates by co-founder Arcelia Gallardo. A traditional Mexican and Central American atole (masa-based hot drink), champurrado is a thick hot chocolate typically served in the morning with churros or as an afternoon snack. It’s very popular during the holiday season when it is served alongside sweet tamales, but who says we can’t keep the holidays going up until Valentine’s Day and beyond!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup masa harina (Mexican-style corn flour)
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cups water, divided
  • 34 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons piloncillo*, chopped (or 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 star anise pods (whole or ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ancho, padilla, or cayenne chile
  • Cinnamon sticks and whole dried chilies for garnish


Dissolve masa in ¼ cup boiling water. Add milk and mix well.

Boil 1½ cups water with piloncillo, cinnamon, star anise, ground chile, and cocoa powder until piloncillo dissolves.

Add the masa and milk mixture to the spiced hot water. (Masa and milk may be strained for less graininess.)

Turn flame to low and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 minutes or until mixture thickens. Ladle into cups. and garnish as desired to serve.


*Piloncillo, an unrefined sugar that’s shaped into large cones, can be found at any Latin-American grocery store.

  • Category: Beverage