Chocolates at Shekoh Confections in Palo Alto on March 7, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
Before opening her chocolate shop on El Camino Real in Palo Alto, Shekoh Moossavi had her sights set on a University Avenue storefront. But she learned it had already been snagged by the married couple behind Chantal Guillon, a French bakery known for its macarons.
Moossavi and the couple became fast friends, and she opened Shekoh Confections last year a couple of miles away near Cal Ave.
But Moossavi, the former owner of Shokolaat, a French restaurant and patisserie on University Avenue that closed in 2012, still wanted to find a way to bring her confectionery downtown. She figured an opportunity might take a few years to arrive, but when the owners of Chantal Guillon told her they were relocating to Las Vegas, it seemed serendipitous.
“I wanted this place originally, so I looked at it as a sign,” she said.
Moossavi plans to open a Shekoh Confections Cafe in the downtown space by the end of June, a sister location of her El Camino shop with the same sweets menu plus savory options like cheese plates as well as bubbles, beer and wine.
Shekoh Moossavi, owner of Shekoh Confections, inside the chocolate shop in Palo Alto on March 7, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
The new shop will also have room for seating, and Moossavi envisions a mezzanine with windows that open onto University Avenue would make for a perfect space for private events or business meetings.
“I want to create a very warm, fuzzy, nice environment,” Moossavi said. “When I built Shokolaat I wanted everything very contemporary-looking, but with this one I want it more homey.”
The space has ample natural light and won’t require any construction before opening, she added.
The opening of Shekoh Confections last year marked a Peninsula homecoming for Moossavi. After Shokolaat closed, Moossavi went to l’École Valrhona, a professional pastry training program in Tain l’Hermitage, France, where she gained technical training in chocolate.
After a few years working in Texas and a second trip to l’École Valrhona, Moossavi returned to the Bay Area in 2018 and started working on Shekoh Confections while selling confections to wholesale and online customers.
Moossavi grew up in Iran, and her parents inspired her love of cooking, she told the Peninsula Foodist in 2022. Some of her chocolates, like the Persian Rose – made with two layers of rose petal marmalade and rose water white chocolate ganache – are inspired by her childhood in Iran.
“I bring a lot of savory to my confections as well,” Moossavi said, pointing to a lemon verbena bonbon that she described as a “cross between grapefruit and quince.”
Since opening Shekoh Confections last year, Moossavi has expanded her offerings to include bonbons, homemade marshmallows, orange peels covered in dark chocolate, marmalades and preserves, Persian nougat and chocolate statues made to look like purses and shoes. She also serves tea by the cup, which she said has become a popular addition.
“I love tea – I was drinking it before I could even talk,” she said.
As Moossavi prepares to open her second location, she hopes to make it a neighborhood hangout that’s open daily until 9 or 10 p.m. for downtown diners looking for dessert and a drink after dinner.
“It’s shaping up nicely. I really love the building, and people have given me really great feedback on the El Camino location, so I hope I'll get the same warm welcome on University,” she said.
==I Shekoh Confections Cafe, 444 University Ave., Palo Alto, Instagram:@shekohconfections.==