Master Chocolatier, Karen Neugebauer is a true Artisan who is at the forefront of the Seattle artisan chocolate scene
She has continually wowed customers with both traditional pieces and her cutting-edge confections. Her passion for the craft and cunningly balanced flavor profiles have led to being ranked among the world’s best chocolatiers.
Chef Karen found her passion when she entered the Art Institute of Seattle’s Baking & Pastry program. She was immediately drawn to chocolate, especially the crisp, clean snap of a beautifully tempered bar, and the chocolate’s innate ability to enhance lives – both as a food and an art – appealed to her immensely. Soon after graduating, she started Forte Chocolates (2006)
Believing in the philosophy that to celebrate chocolate is to celebrate life, Chef Karen chose to follow the artisan mindset rather than manufacturing large quantities. Her team of artisans craft every piece entirely by hand; including hand tempering, pouring, dipping, and packaging all of the chocolates. With meticulous dedication to quality, she brings to life the remarkably diverse variety of flavors found naturally within chocolate. She also creates stunning flavor combinations by blending chocolates with the finest ingredients available in the marketplace, including savory elements such as organic herbs, honeys, and spices.
Chef Karen become the highest awarded chocolatier in the nation in 2013
She has won numerous national and international awards each year, most notably a World Gold for her Sea Salt Caramel and an impressive 3 World Silvers from the International Chocolate Awards (2016) for her Cherry Almond Truffle, Lemon Pepper Bar, and Lemon Pepper Truffles. Just this year, Chef Karen has earned an impressive 8 awards from the international Chocolate Awards, Americas round. All of those products will go on to compete in the World Finals. Nationally, she has earned more than fifty Golds and Silvers, including Taste TV’s Masters Award (2012), and the Six-Star rating from the International Chocolate Salons (2013), their highest possible rating in the United States. Chef Karen’s chocolates are carried at her Mount Vernon showroom, the Forte retail stores in Mount Vernon and Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Celebrate Life Through Chocolate…
We believe that every moment of life is worth celebrating. For centuries, chocolate has been a key component in all manner of celebrations, whether as a beautiful wedding favor, an elaborate offering to the gods, or as a thoughtful thank you gift to those who have enhanced our lives. Chocolate has been used to ignite passions, capture the heart of a new love, to comfort a friend or soothe a broken heart, and as a way to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. To celebrate chocolate is to celebrate life!
Hand-Crafted Chocolate Works of Art…
In order to fully appreciate the flavor and texture of a fine confection, we believe that it should look as extraordinary as it tastes. This devotion to artistic presentation and attention to detail can be readily seen in all of our work. Every piece is masterfully crafted by hand to produce a unique work of art with its own personality, something that is painfully lacking in manufactured chocolates. The beauty of presentation is carried through to the end with our exquisite hand-packaging of all our confections in gorgeous gift and favor boxes that are as sure to please the recipient as the chocolates found within.
Create a Symphony of Flavor in Every Bite…
We focus on bringing to life the remarkably diverse flavors found naturally within pure chocolate and pairing it only with fresh, local cream and butter, adding only the finest liqueurs, fruits, nuts, and spices the marketplace has to offer… We never use preservatives. The result is a flavor profile that is both intense and pure, dancing upon the palette like a fine wine. Each confection is meticulously crafted to provide a full experience that thrills and satisfies even the most discerning palette with every bite.
Share the Obsession…
From the crisp, clean snap of a perfectly tempered chocolate bar, to the luxurious sheen of a beautifully enrobed confection, chocolate captures immediate attention. Once tasted, it offers so many artistic properties and flavor nuances one cannot help exploring further. Even so, our obsession with chocolate goes deeper than what can be readily interpreted by the senses alone. It is chocolate’s inherent ability to enhance our lives, both as a food and as a medium for conveying our appetite for life, which captures our hearts and emboldens us to share this knowledge and passion with everyone we meet!