DALLAS – If you love chocolate, and you've never been to CocoAndré Chocolatier in Oak Cliff, you're doing yourself a disservice. Not only are you missing out on some damn good chocolate, you're missing out on supporting a local business that's all about the community.
Besides representing Dallas, this family-owned shop is representing its Hispanic heritage in the best way possible – through strength and perseverance.
"I was working on for a company in Dallas,” Andrea Pedraza told Newsfix. Pedraza owns CocoAndré Chocolatier with her daughter Cindy Pedraza Puente. “And then eight years later, I started my own business. It's been tough, but I wouldn't change anything on that."
Although Pedraza specializes in handmade European style truffles and treats, she recently began adding Mexican chocolate to the equation.
"The cacao from there is a native cacao,” Pedraza said. "We don't go into any other details. It's just plain good cacao growing in Chiapas."
In order to get it, Pedraza travels to the source. And during her latest trip, she missed the deadly earthquake that hit Mexico City by a few days.
"I don't know how to call that,” Pedraza said. “So blessed or so lucky? Or what can you say about that? Knowing that my brother was there for the few hours that we couldn't get in touch with him, it was very difficult, very hard to understand. Very hard to put your feelings in words.”
And with tragedy, comes togetherness.
"It's seeing my people and how resilient they are,” Pedraza told Newsfix.
But banding together during tough times is only half the battle.
"On the 15th/16th we were celebrating Mexican independence,” Pedraza said. “And honestly what I see is that it's a continuous battle. It's not something that 'oh you get your independence you're good to go,' it is an everyday battle. We wake up in the morning and we do what we have to do just to keep going. To be of help to our society."