Adam Turoni made a bold move when he was 22 years old. Fresh out of school, he moved to a new town where he knew practically no one, Savannah, and took on a risky business niche, retail chocolate.
“It was terrifying,” Turoni says. “I had saved up all my money to do this. I had people that were very supportive and I had a lot of people that were not very supportive. It was one of the scariest times of my life.”
He never had lived in the South before. He knew he was a great chocolatier. But he just didn’t know if anyone here would buy little desserts that start at $2.50 each.
It didn’t take long for him to find the answer. Turoni, 26 in June, is the man behind the wildly successful Chocolat by Adam Turoni. The Broughton Street chocolatier is where you can find delectable morsels like roasted fig and cognac truffles, grand marnier cherry cordials and Mexican mocha melts.
“It’s so important to surround yourself with inspiring people,” Turoni says of his quick achievements in business. “They make you better people. They push you in ways that you never thought you could be pushed.”
Turoni’s chocolate-covered inspirations go all the way back to his childhood, when he and his grandmother would bake cookies late into the night. They continued when, at age 17, he became the pastry chef at a swanky restaurant in his native Scranton, Pennsylvania. They continued when he studied under legendary chef Alice Waters at Chef Panisse in California and chocolate guru Peter Greweling at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
And the inspirations keep on coming.
“When I talk about Savannah being inspiring, sometimes it’s just the moments and the moments that you don’t plan for,” Turoni says. “So, one of the chocolates that I have is called the ‘midnight cherry eclipse,’ inspired by a late night run around Forsyth Park.”
That particular creation has very dark chocolate (for the night), a hand-candied tarragon flower (for the azaleas) and a print of the moon on wafer paper (for the full moon). Other ideas might come from paintings, symphonies, movies, fashion or the wider culinary world. For example, he recently has been experimenting with “sous vide” chocolate.
“Sous vide” is a technique normally associated with cooking meat or vegetables. The food goes into a plastic bag, where better temperature control can infuse it with more flavor. But this also could be a way to get new flavors into chocolate. The only problem is that sous vide machines are expensive.
“So, I made my own homemade sous vide machine just to see if would work,” he says. “Now, if it blows up, I’m going to get the machine!”
This humor, this constantly trying new things and this pushing boundaries is part of Turoni’s “Under 30” success in business.
“I always hate it when older people would say, ‘Oh, I’m too old. I stopped learning,’” he says. “You can never stop learning because you’ll be forgotten.”
And anyone who has tasted Turoni’s chocolates sure won’t forget them.