Mark Meissner and Casey Hickey are a married couple and corporate refugees cum wine aficionado and pastry chef/chocolatier. They are also proprietors of Petit Philippe, a great stop on any trip to Charlotte. Mark oversees the wine selection and wine tasting room while Casey creates the house-made, small-batch artisan chocolates and confections under her brand, Twenty Degrees Chocolates.
According to both their websites, Mark worked in finance that took him around the globe, including a two-year stint working in Grenoble, France. It was in Grenoble that Mark’s real passion for wine was stoked and, incidentally, where he befriended Philippe, the company’s namesake! Casey studied under Chef Nicolas Bernardé, recipient of the coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) prize in pastry-confectionery which inspired her to explore chocolate more. Following pastry school, she earned a Professional Chocolatier certification from École Chocolat and worked in several San Francisco-area pastry kitchens, including Scharffen Berger chocolate’s Café Cacao.
The name Twenty Degrees Chocolates was inspired by the fact the cacao tree only grows within twenty degrees north and south of the equator. It requires the proper climate, soil and shade for growth, and each tree’s yield is quite small. They conceived of Petit Philippe a few days after Casey’s graduation from pastry school, and a few hours before he proposed to her.
As one of our optional tours at the Ninth Triennial Gathering, Twenty Degrees Chocolates and Petit Philippe offer you the chance to taste some of the world’s loveliest sparkling wines and gorgeous, berry-infused artisan confections. Informative and playful discussions plus tasting notes will be included.
Lidia Brown is an intern with Women of the ELCA.
The photo, taken by Linda Post Bushkofsky and used with permission, shows some delightful chocolates made by Twenty Degrees Chocolates. Recognize that logo?!