- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 29, 2015

We’ve found your holiday treat specialty retailer. 

D.C. native Shana Elson is taking customizable candies to the next level with her business, Top This Chocolate out of Santa Monica, California, a boutique customizer of all manner of chocolate treats.

While confectioners and chocolatiers haven’t precisely been in short supply, proprietor and owner Ms. Elson — a native of Bethesda, Maryland — has found a unique way for her customers to customize their taste experience by offering you, the consumer, a chance to top off her homemade holiday treats as you like it.

“Before Top This Chocolate, the only chocolate that was available was whatever came off the factory floor,” Ms. Elson said. “If you liked almonds, you were in luck, but if you preferred pistachios with cranberries, there was nowhere to turn.”

Ms. Elson, who moved cross-country from the District for a life as a Los Angeles attorney, quit her day job after wearying of the world of litigation and intent on spending more time with her first love: chocolate. While pursuing her MBA at the University of Southern California, Ms. Elson successfully applied for $25,000 in seed money from the Women’s New Venture Pitch Competition to get the confectionary off the ground. Top This was born.

Ms. Elson tops off her treats with all manner of sprinklings, from gummy bears to marshmallows to dried cherries and even those cereals we all loved as kids, such as Rice Krispies and Froot Loops. Best of all, the customer can customize each piece of chocolate to his or her unique tastes for any occasion — even with a person’s name.

“It’s challenging running an online business when the Amazons of the world are able to offer free shipping,” Ms. Elson told The Times. “However, I am hopeful that the uniqueness of my customizable handmade chocolate products will help me overcome that hurdle.”

Top This is offering a plethora of Christmas and Hanukkah-themed yummies for every vision and desire — and for that hard-to-shop-for family member or loved one with a sweet tooth. To begin making your treat today, visit TopThisChocolate.com.

• Eric Althoff can be reached at twt@washingtontimes.com.

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