In the heart of the Old Market lies Chocolat Abeille, a chocolate shop with an aroma sweet enough to taste in the air. The shop is owned by Tina Tweedy, a chocolatier with a culinary background working in Omaha’s restaurant industry.
“During my 26 years in the restaurant industry, I was fortunate enough to work in both the front and back of the house in some of Omaha’s classic fine dining establishments; as well as worked with some of the most fantastic chefs and restaurant owners in the industry,” said Tweedy. “I gained valuable experience that prepared me to be a business owner.” Her keys to success included consistency, passion, the art of hospitality, gratitude, and making sure family always comes first.
Before her business adventure, Tweedy was the pastry chef at M’s Pub and Vivace for 5 years leading up to the day of the M’s Pub fire in January 2016. “I left an hour before the explosion,” she said. While waiting for its reopening, she noticed a space across the street come available. “It was the perfect location, with a great community I already knew. I love the historic architecture and being attached to the Passageway as it attracts tons of locals and visitors from all over the country and world.”
Two weeks before Christmas in December 2017, Chocolat Abeille opened its doors. “Everyday was busy, and I was tempering our chocolate by hand as we had no tempering machine yet. I was making chocolate all night, which was very intense, but good because our customers loved it.” To keep up with demand, Tweedy was able to purchase a tempering machine right before the Easter holiday in 2018. Having her workspace within the retail space, the tempering machine allowed her to help customers while keeping up with the 75-100 pounds of chocolate the store goes through in a week.
Chocolat Abeille or “Chocolate Honeybee” in French perfectly entwines Tweedy’s love for French style, chocolate, and honey bees, as she keeps several of her own bee hives. Many of her choco-lates include her own honey as part of their ingredients, and throughout the shop can be found hand painted honeycomb patterns and mini golden bees.
A majority of her chocolate pieces are made using molds painted with colored cocoa butter and filled with high quality chocolate. Tweedy also uses natural ingredients such as lavender for infused flavorings. “Chocolate has intrigued humans for thousands of years, so has beauty. I believe the popularity of artisan chocolates can be attributed to the ability to capture amazing flavor and artistry in something bite sized.
“Trends in the industry that excite me most are those where chefs are highlighting a specific ingredient and focusing on its origin, exploring all of its dimensions and how it can be presented. I also love seeing the collaboration of so many chefs locally. They are combining talents, products and vision to give diners a well-rounded experience.”
Tweedy recently opened her own pastry shop called Vitale Omaha, only a few doors down from her chocolate shop. “I have a very talented staff who have been with me for years. My son started baking rolls with me at M’s Pub, and now he is helping in the new bakery,” she said. Her next big plans include expanding the chocolate shop to the bay next door in order to make Chocolat Abeille a chocolate shop & dessert parlor.
In continuing to support local in the Old Market, Tweedy said, “Word of mouth is the best adver-tising, especially giving boxes of chocolates to others. We would like Omaha to continue to come in, visit us, and share the joy.”