Mother-and-daughter Andrea Pedraza and Cindy Pedraza Puente started a chocolate shop together in Oak Cliff in 2009, after both were let go from their jobs during the recession.
Four years ago, they bought their own building in Bishop Arts.
Now CocoAndré Chocolatier also employs a second Pedraza sister, Mayra Dwinal, and all three families have bought houses in the Kiest Park area.
The shop’s specialty is hand-rolled truffles, made from recipes Andrea Pedraza developed over decades as a chocolatier. But there’s also the popular pistachio bark as well as chocolate poured into whimsical shapes, including their famous red-bottomed high heels.
The Washington Post reported in June that most of the chocolate from major brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestle — is produced with low-wage child labor in Western Africa. Those companies repeatedly have missed deadlines over the past 15 years to stop using child labor.
“As a result, the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor,” the report stated.
But not at this shop.
A few years ago, CocoAndré started buying fair-trade chocolate exclusively. All of their chocolate comes from a woman-owned farm in the Chiapas region of Mexico.
Besides that, they sell things they buy in Chiapas, such as hand-embroidered tortilla warmers and children’s toys, alongside locally made jewelry, greeting cards and other merchandise.
And then there’s the ice cream. It’s made with Chiapas-grown vanilla beans and tastes better than your grandma’s ice-cream social. They serve it as an ice-cream sandwich on conchas from Vera’s Panadería.
The shop also serves agua de Jamaica with Topo Chico and house-made vegan horchata. They even squeeze their own almonds.
Puente says she went vegan a few years ago at the urging of her friend who owns V Market, the vegan friendly market that sometimes pops up at CocoAndré. It’s not that hard to find a piece of dark chocolate that’s vegan, but other vegan sweets are more rare, she says. So she wanted to include more vegan options into the shop.
Andrea Pedraza developed several vegan truffles — French lavender, amaretto and sea-salt caramel — which are available every day.
After all these years, Puente says, “people still don’t know we’re here,” so they’re planning to repaint their building, a former cottage on West Seventh Street, in bright yellow and turquoise. And they’re putting picnic tables on the front lawn to draw attention and encourage hangouts.
The ones who do know they’re there are very loyal, Dwinal says.
“We have customers who will bring their friends from other cities. This is the one place they have to bring them in Dallas,” she says. “To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”
508 W. 7th St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday
Price range: $3-$50
More info: cocoandre.com