The Marie and Frères showroom in South Lake Union. Photo via Facebook.

In October of 2009 Marie-Françoise Barnhart opened Claudio Corallo on Westlake Avenue. With its assortment of mindblowing single-origin chocolates and partnerships with Mistral Kitchen, the artisanal shop (later rechristened Marie and Frères) became a noted destination

"The showroom"—a sort of classroom for cacao geeks, thanks to its demos and generous samples—"really helped put us on the map," Barnhart recalls fondly. "We love that space." This past summer she shut down the storefront as staffers took off travelling, but, says Barnhart, it won't reopen.

Rest easy, this isn't this last we'll be seeing of Barnhart. Rather, the chocolatier says she has "lots of things in the works" and is focusing on growing the business. She's keeping a tight lid on what those plans entail but is hoping to have them in place by the end of the year. "All I can say is stay tuned."

For fans of Marie and Frères, Barnhart is hosting a farewell party this Thursday, September 27 from 5 to 7, complete with bubbly and samples of a new Rustica chocolate. Those interested in continuing to order chocolate can do so by contacting Barnhart through the Marie and Frères website.

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