The mother-daughter team behind Chocolate Bijoux makes handmade sweets that look like gems

Aliaa Khalaf is a fan of good chocolate. A big fan.

A fan known for traveling with an extra carry-on to fill exclusively with chocolates found on international trips.

“Every time we traveled, she would come home with a stash,” recalls Aliaa’s daughter, Maram. “Literally, she’d have a bag she’d stuff with chocolate we would buy along the way.”

That personal passion helped spark the creation of Chocolate Bijoux, the artisan chocolate venture Aliaa and Maram launched last February in Baton Rouge. The boutique brand, known by its alluring, colorful confections, sells at pop-ups, in local retail outlets and direct to consumers. The diminutive, detailed sweets come in 15 handmade flavors, including pistachio-mallow, candied hazelnut and best-selling honeycomb crunch. Aliaa makes the chocolates by hand, while Maram, a biology and education major at LSU, takes care of the business side.

What ultimately prompted the duo’s Wonka-esque foray was a simple problem: Aliaa’s chocolate stash ran dry during the pandemic.

Travel restrictions, combined with the shutdown’s infusion of boredom, inspired the married mother of four to learn to make artisan chocolate herself.

“She doesn’t like Hershey’s,” Maram says.

Maram and Aliaa Khalaf launched Chocolate Bijoux in February 2023.

The kitchen was familiar territory for Aliaa, a practiced culinarian accustomed to cooking for her family of six from scratch. She watched YouTube videos on chocolate making and ordered callets (meltable pellets) of high-quality chocolate and candy molds in various shapes. Then, she started experimenting, ultimately settling on a style that achieved lustrous exterior colors through tempered, dyed cocoa butter.

Over the ensuing months, Maram took samples of the chocolates to friends and contacts at LSU, as well as to culinary influencers, receiving encouragement about the candy’s taste and eye-popping beauty. The glossy shades not only define the brand; they signal the handmade fillings within. Dark blue is coconut cream, for example. Light green is pistachio, and black is nougat.

Shapes also coordinate with the seasons. Expect to see hearts this month for Valentine’s Day, while Christmas brings shiny balls and bells. The Khalafs also offer custom chocolate bars that can be styled with messages, as well as made-to-order boxes for weddings and events.

And while milk chocolate is by far their best seller, they offer dark and white chocolate, too. Find them on Instagram at @chocolatebijoux.


Sweets search

Where to find Chocolate Bijoux treats locally

• Jubans Restaurant

• Light House Coffee

• Local Supply

• Mulberry Market

• Local Pop-Up Feb. 24 at the Electric Depot

This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of 225 magazine.