Castronovo crafts its chocolate in Stuart, Florida, from fine flavour cacao that is sustainably harvested and grown in Central and South America.

Massachusetts-born Denise Castronovo is the leading lady behind the eponymous chocolate maker. But for Denise, chocolate wasn’t always on the cards. Denise studied environmental studies at college, attained a masters in economics and went on to start her PhD in ecology at the University of Georgia. Denise didn’t finish this, but instead wanted to enter the workforce with the skills she had learnt whilst studying and became a professor. Whilst spending 15 years in the field of mapping technology and spatial analysis, part of which included returning to Boston and running the Geographic Information Center at Tufts University, it was the harsh winters of Boston that pushed Denise and her husband to somewhere warm. Florida.

In their new home of Florida, Denise was self-employed as a Geographic Information consultant but became curious about other things she was able to do. Interested in superfoods and the craft chocolate movement that were both taking off.. It was the plethora of flavours of single origin cacao that intrigued.

What’s your background? Why and how did you get into chocolate?

Castronovo Chocolate’s founder, Denise Castronovo is an Ecologist. Chocolate is a second career for her after spending 15 years working in Geospatial Technology. She started making chocolate to develop a business that can build a viable economic solution that can help protect tropical rainforests. By paying premium prices for cocoa beans from indigenous people who live in and protect the world’s most remote and threatened environments, she is able to make fine chocolate from heirloom cocoa beans and provide a viable livelihood for them.

When did you start your company — and with whom?  How many are there of you?

In 2013, my husband Jim and I invested in starting the company. 4 employees work in the business

What is the story behind your company name?

Castronovo is our Sicilian family name. It means new castle. In naming the business, we decided to honour the Castronovo family tradition of slow food. Jim’s grandmother used to make all the components from scratch all week long for a large family gathering of Sunday dinner that lasted about 5 hours over many courses.


Castronovo In The Chocolate Library