There aren’t many business owners who can say that their regular customers have known them since they were children. Brothers Mark and Phil Covitz grew up feasting on truffles and pralines from the European-style chocolate boutique their mother, Aviva, ran in Los Angeles’ Beverly Hills for 35 years. “Many of her customers still come in every year to buy gifts for the holidays,” Phil told Observer in a recent interview. “By this point, they really are family friends.”
Although the location (a block from Rodeo Drive) and customers may be the same, little else is. When they inherited the business in 2018, Mark and Phil ended a historic partnership with a Swiss chocolate brand. Now, as andSons, the brothers work with French B Corp Valrhona, which is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2025. “We’re really drawn to their social impact. They’ve been in direct relationships with farmers for decades and in many cases get really hands-on. For example, they’re shareholders in the Millot plantation in Northern Madagascar which is where we source the single-origin dark chocolates in our Classic line.”
With its red awning and Swiss products, the first iteration of the business had a European flair. These days, flavors are firmly rooted in the sunny orchards of California. As a former pastry chef at Thomas Keller’s iconic The French Laundry, the head of andSons’ kitchen knows quality ingredients. To make andSons seasonal delights, like tart passion fruit with white chocolate or tangy yuzu caramel, Chef Sandy Tran sources produce from organic farms in Ventura County—JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch, Harry’s Berries and the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
“We want to pay homage to the inspiration and creativity of our home city,” Mark adds. “People from LA are always looking to experience new things and there’s such an impressive cultural scene we wanted to start incorporating it into the brand.”
Little touches set andSons apart from other chocolatiers: a mural of a cacao tree from LA artist Maggie Lochtenberg on the ceiling, a partnership with the Huntington Library which supplies the kitchen with marmalade and tea. More recently, they’ve teamed up with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles to produce a series of collectible boxes featuring significant works including The Spirit Bear by Marnie Weber. “We think it’s a great way to give people the chance to take a little slice of the city’s creativity home with them.”
“Our aim is to delight customers as well as encourage them to rethink their concept of what chocolate is—and what it can be. One regular told me recently that unless his wife gets a box of andSons on her birthday every year he gets in trouble, so we must be doing something right.”