THE WOODHOUSE FAMILY
Woodhouse Chocolate represents the combined efforts of three generations of the Anderson/Wood family. John and Tracy Anderson, their daughters Christina and Caroline, Chritina's husband Vince and Tracy’s mother Christine run the kitchen and company together. Their mission is to create the world’s most flavorful and rich chocolates and confections using local, sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Produced in the European style, Woodhouse chocolates are handmade in a historic 1890’s stone and brick building on Saint Helena’s Main Street in the heart of the Napa Valley.
The initial idea of opening a chocolate shop came to Tracy and John during the life changing semester they spent together in Europe as college students. Among their many new experiences on their tour of Europe was French chocolates… Once they discovered the edible jewels made by small town chocolatiers, they yearned to learn the craft to be able to bring them back to their home in Napa Valley. As is often the case, it would be many years before their dream was realized.
Tracy Wood Anderson began her cooking career early, showing a natural gift for food. She was only five years old when her parents came home to find a completed lime meringue pie and a spooked babysitter pointing to Tracy saying, “She just did it, I didn’t have anything to do with it!” She’s never looked back. Tracy went on to receive a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College and a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy. Following her studies she spent 15 years working alongside her husband at his family’s winery, S. Anderson Vineyard.
John Anderson grew up surrounded by food, wine, and the arts. He was only nine when his parents became pioneers in the then fledgling Napa wine industry. Later, working on his BA in Political Science and Economics at Claremont McKenna College, he met his future wife, Tracy Wood. Shortly after graduation John again crossed the pond to study art at the prestigious London auction house, Christie’s. While a career in art was considered, John spent the next 16 years in various capacities at his family’s winery in Napa Valley.
Around 2000, the Anderson family decided to sell the family winery. While Tracy and John knew they wanted to open a business together in Napa Valley, they weren’t entirely sure what it might be. Enough time had elapsed between their first discovery of European chocolates to push their dream of opening a chocolate shop to the back of their minds. They were reminded and their dream was rekindled after they attended a showing of the movie Chocolat. They then began their journey to opening Woodhouse Chocolate.
Partners in life and now partners in chocolate, the couple made the decision to divide up the work for their new endeavor. In Tracy’s words. “I’ll make the chocolate and, John, you do everything else”. It worked. Tracy spent the next two years studying at the hand of chocolate masters in Europe and the Americas, and John spent his time getting an MBA at UC Davis. Tracy perfected her recipes and techniques, and John planned the equipment and business until Woodhouse Chocolate was ready to open its doors on April 3rd, 2004.
Children and Art
Woodhouse Chocolate is dedicated to one core idea: the creation of the finest chocolates is an art that requires not only the skills of a chef, but the eye of an artist. Tracy is joined in the Woodhouse kitchen by her mother Christine and daughter Christina. Christine taught Tracy to cook, and Christina, like her mother, has a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy. John is joined on the business side of the chocolate shop by his daughter Caroline. Further, Christine is an artist in oils, and Tracy and Christina each have a Studio Art degree while Caroline has a Masters in Fine Arts. Woodhouse chocolates are a joy both for the palate and the eye.
Over the past twelve years, Woodhouse Chocolate has earned the respect of its peers as well as the regard of the press. Appearing in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, InStyle and several times on Oprah’s O list, Woodhouse has also been names first in the country by Consumer Reports. Most recently, the Huffington Post gave Woodhouse the distinction of the best chocolate shop in America.