Krystal likes to clarify that a chocolatier doesn’t ‘make chocolate,’ a chocolatier ‘works with chocolate,’ explaining,“A quick way to think of it is a paint maker and a painter.”
Always a chocolate fanatic, Krystal says her parents, who also own a restaurant, “were very good at encouraging a positive work ethic and never hindered my creative side, which were helpful attributes to my unknown future in chocolate work.” She always knew she wanted to do something on her own.
Cut to the winter of 2018 when Krystal and her husband Ian opened Intero. “It came from our mutual love for Italian cuisine and the idea behind it in utilizing regionally available ingredients. Sustainability is very important to us, and the concept of Italian cooking naturally incorporates that focus.”
People matter, too. “We knew we wanted to create a place that allowed us to spread our creative wings and challenge us in new ways while dually giving us the opportunity to foster meaningful relationships with others who enjoy sharing good food together.”
Ian’s career as a chef began at an Italian restaurant and Italy is where Krystal’s love of chocolate work was nurtured. “Italy is where I was first inspired in the real possibilities of artisan chocolate work and I was enamored by how “real” tasting all the chocolate products and desserts were there compared to anywhere I’d traveled in the US at the time,” she says.
Krystal’s personal favorite is dark chocolate and she primarily works with Luker chocolate from a fair-trade, organic, sustainable cacao farm out of Columbia. The day of our visit she used it to make her staple truffles – caramel (that won’t stick to your teeth!), peanut butter (with honey!) and coconut.
“Working with chocolate encompasses everything I love,” Krystal says, ”It provides the opportunity to continually learn and develop a creative skill I still feel so passionate about. On top of that, seeing other people happy is a great joy to me, and chocolate certainly helps to get mouths smiling. That's almost the best part!”
Krystal says they’d like to open one or two additional concepts and invest in others towards their career goals in bigger ways. She and Ian are very hands on, ‘DIY-type people,’ but while Krystal develops the main dessert concepts and recipes based on seasonal ingredient changes and holiday inspirations, she’s grateful for their Pastry Sous Chef Kat Sees. “It takes a team of people in your corner to accomplish big dreams, and I’m grateful for everyone who believed in me enough to offer their support, time and talents towards what I was doing,” she says. “I want to pay it forward."
Find Intero at 2612 E Cesar Chavez St Suite 105, Austin, TX 78702