A new chocolatier in Southlake called Yelibelly offers chocolates you probably haven't seen before, infused with unusual ingredients such as wasabi, habañero and toasted Hawaiian coconut in white chocolate. Owner Sarahbeth Marshall is a registered dietician who's found a nifty way to forge her background in science and food.
"I worked in the food service industry doing menu planning, and chocolate was a hobby, something I did on the side," she says. "But there's a lot of science in chocolate, and that's what appealed to me — the idea of playing with the science part of food.
"When I learned about real chocolate and what it was, and how much creativity but also how much science was involved, I said, 'Oh, I gotta play with this.'"
"I'm having a lot of fun with stuff like wasabi and Thai chile pepper," says chocolatier Sarahbeth Marshall.
Her first introduction was on a trip to Italy, where she experienced chocolates with unpredictable ingredients such as rosemary and cedar. "I was like, 'Cedar? Like the wood?'" she says. Hooked, she began to teach herself the craft, seeking out classes and connecting with other chocolatiers.
"I found a good fit at a chocolate company called Peters based out of Pennsylvania, not far from Hershey's," she says. "They had a whole curriculum. I spent some time learning not only about how to make chocolate, but also the business: If you want to own a chocolate company, this is what you do to own a store."
She opened her storefront in partnership with an Addison company called Delicious Cakes, which had another location in Southlake where they used only the kitchen. Marshall shares the kitchen and uses the storefront as her retail center.
"It's an incredibly gorgeous store where I'm surrounded by gorgeous custom wedding cakes," Marshall says. "Half of my business is wedding favors, so we feed off each other."
To make her chocolates, she use three manufacturers. "Depending on the flavor I’m working with, it's either Guittard, Callebaut or Peters," she says. She's best known for her molded truffles and bon bons, some of which feature alcohol infusions like the one she does with spicy cinnamon Schnapps.
"I'm having a lot of fun with stuff like wasabi and Thai chile pepper," she says. "My most recent favorite is a pumpkin spiced latte flavor that tastes just like the Starbucks drink."
The company name is a reference to yet another one of her hobbies: belly dancing.
"Yeli is my nickname, what everybody calls me," she says. "I picked up that nickname years ago when I was performing as a Middle Eastern belly dancer. I teach and perform Egyptian-style belly dance.
"Yeli came up because Sarahbeth is not a very Arabian-sounding name. If you're performing at Al Amir or Istanbul, you don't want to be introduced as 'the belly dancer Sarahbeth.' The first place to carry my chocolates was the dance studio I was teaching at the time. The little line beneath Yelibelly says, 'flavors that make your belly dance.'"