Carmen Portillo

Carmen Portillo’s sweet tooth brought her a long way — she became Arkansas’ first chocolatier just over a decade ago. She now treats central Arkansas to delicious delicacies from her very own business, Cocoa Belle Chocolates and recently co-founded CB-Dulce, where she sells Cannabidiol-Infused Chocolate.

On Family

I’ve been married for 13 years to Robert and we have one daughter, 5-year old Isabel. We love to cook together while listening to ’90s house music. Any day of the week our house might sound like a rave while Isabel shows us her breakdancing moves.

On Her Business, Cocoa Belle Chocolates

My passion for chocolate began many years ago while living in the U.K. and traveling throughout Europe. I created Cocoa Belle Chocolates because I wanted to create experiences like I had abroad for customers in Arkansas. I see myself as an artist and chocolate is my medium. Running a small business is challenging but I’m fortunate to be in a profession I’m passionate about.

Favorite Cocoa Belle Chocolates Product

Honestly there’s nothing I create that I wouldn’t indulge. Currently the Creme Brulee and Key Lime truffles are my favorite.

Favorite Local Eats

One Eleven at Capital Hotel. Favorite desserts are the gateau de crepes with Grand Marnier ice cream and Suzette sauce and the chocolate Victorian cake.

Can’t-Live-Without Beauty Product

Benefit ka-BROW! Cream-Gel Eyebrow Color. Keeps my eyebrows on fleek!

(When I remember to put them on.)

On Time Management

Be the tortoise, not the hare. You have to pace yourself and it’s totally OK to push something to the next day. I would much rather keep my sanity than lose myself in a never-ending to-do list.

Favorite Local Store

Bella Vita Jewelry in downtown Little Rock. Not only is Cocoa Belle Chocolates exclusively sold inside but the store is filled with beautiful handcrafted jewelry and gifts with a global influence.

Favorite Family Hangout

Any ice cream shop that’s nearby — Loblolly, TCBY, Baskin Robbins, Zaza’s — we don’t discriminate when it comes to frozen treats.