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About Me

Beyond the Brown Bonnet

It used to be all about vanilla until one night it wasn’t. I was five and had fallen asleep in the car during a long ride. I woke up to a velvet, starlit sky in the parking lot of our local ice cream shop with my dad confirming my usual order: soft serve vanilla in a cup. Perhaps my love for chocolate was written in the stars while I snoozed because in the blink of an eye, my taste buds shifted their loyalty over to the dark side. Upon waking I had deserted soft serve vanilla and only had eyes for a chocolate brown bonnet. I’d noticed my older sister savoring this decidedly un-vanilla treat with gusto on more than one occasion and assumed it was reserved for those with palates more sophisticated than mine. Naturally, I was intrigued.

A chocolate brown bonnet, in case you don’t know, is soft serve chocolate ice cream dressed in a glossy dark chocolate robe that cracks when you bite it. Sitting proudly atop its edible pedestal also known as a cone, it was my gateway into the world of chocolate, and I’ve never looked back.

Brown Bonnet


Once I became an adult, I moved beyond the brown bonnet and sought finer chocolate sold in specialty shops where my husband and I spent cherished hours and hard-earned dollars. In the late 1990s, the craft chocolate movement was born and new makers started popping up on the scene. Before long, we possessed an impressive and ever-growing chocolate collection that begged for its own room.

In 2019, I became a judge for The International Chocolate Awards and then immediately enrolled in a certificate program for expert chocolate tasting designed and led by the heads of The International Chocolate Awards, James Beard award-winning chef, author and restaurateur, Dr. Maricel Presilla, and her colleague from Seventy%, Martin Christy. Learning from these top professionals and tasting hundreds of rare and exclusive bars from artisan makers all over the world (several of whom were my fellow classmates), made me realize that chocolate is not just my favorite flavor...it’s my passion, my lifelong subject of study and my true calling.

For my love affair with chocolate that began so many years ago in a Brooklyn ice cream shop’s parking lot, I thank my lucky stars, but I also want to take this opportunity to thank you for entrusting your unique and precious palate to me. I promise to treat it with the utmost care and ensure that your journey into the world of fine chocolate brings you all pleasure and no pressure.

Barometer Chocolate knows no other way.

Nadine Kerstan, owner Barometer Chocolate

Nadine Kerstan
Owner - Barometer Chocolate