Shop Talk: Wen Chocolates

Category: Chocolate

Denver, CO

Owners: William Poole and Loren Penton

In business since: 2007

1541 Platte Street, Denver, CO


Chocolate philosophy:

I [William] believe that chocolate has the ability to generate experiences and elicit emotion. Being able to manipulate aromatics into the medium allows for further experiences. I think that some aromatics have “tones,” and that only certain types of chocolates allow these tones to come through into a taste experience that is pure and definable.


I was inspired by a working holiday in Europe, where I became familiar with Eastern European techniques in confectionery. My inspiration continues to come from everything I encounter: people, art, architecture, jewelry, color, texture and flavor.


Art Institute of Colorado (Culinary Program), Denver, CO

Description of business:

When our storefront became available in the Platte River Valley area of Denver, we decided to design something that was sympathetic to the aesthetics of the building (located in an older district of Denver). We added tin ceilings, aged the trim, and utilized a color scheme all bringing to mind confectionery shops of a bygone era. Alongside these vintage touches, we’ve incorporated such modern amenities as state-of-the-art pastry and keeping cases. All our products are handmade; we don’t utilize any heavy-duty machinery or equipment. You’ll find unique bagged items, all hand-finished with interesting beads, and always something new and exciting. In regards to our clientele, we see some of our guests daily or weekly, and welcome first timers; it’s always a treat to meet someone who’s ordered from our website. We love making new “Friends of Wen.”

How do you sell your chocolates?

Our truffles sell for $1.75 each, and we offer a price break at 12 pieces. Our prices range from $1.25 to $175.00, which includes hand-molded custom pieces and gift baskets.

How many varieties of chocolates do you have?

We carry around 51 different “experiences.” These include truffles, toffees and molded products. Much like the world of high fashion, we have seasonal/revolving lines or products in the spring and fall.

What brand(s) of chocolate do you use?

We use several different brands.

What is your signature flavor?

The Violette Truffle.

Most unique piece?

We have two. Every year we produce a limited- edition run of Saint Nick chocolates. Every chocolate is hand molded using a late 19th-century metal mold and then hand-finished. We have also acquired a chocolate tile mold of Diego Rivera’s Flower Seller from his early 20th-century series. It looks (and tastes!) great.

Favorite piece?

Right now I am really into our Beggars’ Coins. These are beautiful tempered chocolate coins encrusted with different tastes and textures; ginger, cherry and hazelnut, citron, roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, rosemary and toasted pine nuts, lavender sea salt, and Korean chili threads, to name but a few.

How do you ship your chocolates?

We box each order by hand and polar pack each box to ensure that our product reaches the intended recipient in the best possible condition. We offer many different carriers and services.

How does your shop differ from others?

We want our guests to become familiar with the different textures and profiles I’ve created. To ensure maximum enjoyment, they have the option to handpick their chocolates or choose from one of our boxes; our gift baskets work in a similar fashion. Everything is hand-finished and can be shipped. We even have complimentary gift cards to personalize gifts.