Gayle’s Chocolates Has a Sweet Car for You

  • story by David M. Brown
  • photos by Courtney Worden
  • posted on 11/2019
  • posted in: Highline Living

Wrap your holidays in chocolate joy.

Gayle’s Chocolates creates artisanal chocolates and sweets that will thrill even the most sophisticated palates this holiday season and throughout the New Year. Car lovers in your life can even drive their gustatory sensations to new joy with the company’s hand-made classics.

In a former 1930s home on reborn Main Street, Cottonwood, Arizona, Gayle’s can ship seasonal chocolate turkeys and Santa piñatas and New Year’s champagne bottles. Also offered for a world of fun year round is a globe-shaped piñata.


Inside each are your choice of the company’s large assortment of confections. The turkey, for example, is “stuffed” with truffle drumsticks, chocolate wishbones, Constant Craving mix, chocolate acorns and maple leaves. Just smash the piñata and savor.

In addition, Gayle’s makes truffles, classic chocolates, candy bars, gift tins/boxes, seasonal chocolates, specialty shapes, celebration chocolates and has just introduced the Vortex Crunch, a smorgasbord of crispy rice cereal, dried Michigan cherries, almonds, cashews, toffee, glazed orange peel and toasted coconut semisweet milk chocolate.

“Our signature Vortex Crunch is named for the healing and energy power of the vortexes in world-famous Sedona, which is just a half hour or so away from our store,” says Michael Portnoy, who purchased the 40-year-old business last year from Gayle Harte, the company founder, one of America’s first female chocolatiers.


Harte’s business in 1979 began with a saucepan on a stove in Huntington Woods, Michigan, a Detroit suburb. Despite an ardent search for the finest custom chocolate, she couldn’t find one that satisfied her standards. So she whipped up her own. Years later, she visited Sedona and married a neighbor of the Portnoys, who had moved there from Jacksonville, Florida, in 2009. When Harte was ready to retire, the family enthusiastically acquired the company.

The staff includes Michael’s wife, Andrea, and son, Louis. General manager Colleen Corson was production manager for Gayle’s Chocolates in Michigan and moved to Arizona to work for the Portnoys. “I oversee the production to ensure that each product features the quality and taste our chocolate lovers expect from us,” she says. Altogether, Gayle’s has four full-time employees, five part time, and has added three for the holidays.

Many of the company’s products can be specified in your favorite chocolate, including milk, white, dark, milk toffee, milk almond, milk cherry pecan, dark almond, dark peppermint crunch, dark orange almond and dark coffee toffee chocolate.


The octet of cars in Gayle’s garage: a Jeep, a vintage Caddy and Chevy, Ford Model T, Porsche 911, a 1963 split window Chevy Corvette, Lamborghini and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. Nudged in is a motorcycle for two-wheel aficionados.

But say your dad has a 1965 Pontiac GTO ragtop or a 1962 Ferrari GTO. “I can make any custom mold as long as the customer is willing and able,” Michael explains. “Just send us a pdf of the car; we’ll match it.”

All occasions become classic at Gayle’s: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. Select from a variety of molds: sharks, flowers, animals, shoes, buildings, gavels, slot machines and others.


Gayle’s Chocolates also offers several customizable products including gift boxes packed with different chocolates depending on budget. For businesses, corporate logos can be implemented into the chocolate designs and the wrappers. “Just select any of Gayle’s chocolate bars, and we’ll wrap it in foil and enclose it in a glossy white wrapper with the name, logo, message or event printed on it,” Michael says.

Products can now be shipped online or from the kiosk at the Gayle’s Chocolates store. The chocolates are packed in insulated boxes at no extra charge to ensure freshness.

“We’re a Willy Wonka chocolate factory on Main Street,” Michael says. “Walk in and witness delectable chocolates being made through large glass windows. Everything we do is handmade, and everything we do we do with love.”


Gayle’s Chocolates delivers in the contiguous United States from Please order holiday and New Year’s gifts by December 10 to ensure timely delivery. Call 1.888.761.CoCO (2626) and visit them on Facebook @gaylestreats Instagram @gayleschocolates.