Joanne Hansen, owner, Bon Bon Chocolates and Bakery, San Diego, Calif.

Joanne Hansen has been cooking and baking since she was a little girl. Rumor has it she inherited this passion from her mom, a homemaker, who designed and baked wedding cakes for many brides throughout San Diego County. 

As a teenager and adult, Hansen enjoyed giving gifts of cookies, cakes and tasty treats in beautiful packaging for holidays and special occasions.  As a mortgage broker for more than 20 years, she was able to travel extensively.

Her love for travel soon blossomed into vacations of chocolate aromas, visiting the chocolate capitals of Europe. That’s where her interest was piqued in finding the purest and most tasteful chocolates somewhere in the United States. 

The idea of opening her own chocolates and bakery shop was bolstered by her mortgage clients who ordered boxes of chocolates she had given them as gifts. It stemmed from her annual ritual of booking herself into a hotel for a week and using its commercial kitchen to immerse herself in producing holiday chocolates that she packaged into beautiful gift boxes.

Thanks to a friend, Hansen stumbled into chocolate making, which proved both challenging and  rewarding as a means of exploring and exploiting her creativity.

In 2006, Hansen came across a vacant shop in a beautiful setting reminiscent of a European village at the Bernardo Winery located in north San Diego.  She inquired about the space, vaguely envisioning her dream of opening a chocolate shop like those she visited in Europe. 

Today, two years later, after painstakingly renovating every inch of her shop, Hansen has become internationally renowned for her unique flavors and beautiful chocolates.

Bon Bon Chocolates has been noted for its beautiful presentation as well as wonderful flavors that have just a slight “after-burn” to them.  She is proud that only the purest organic and highest quality ingredients are used in all the sweets she creates.

Her one-of-a-kind Chile Verde Ganache with Sweet Corn took the Grand Prize (Tasting Division) at the 2009 Scovie Awards in October 2008 while her Chocolate Lava Truffle won an honorable mention in the 2009 Next Generation Chocolates Award Competition held in New York City last November.

In addition, her designer wedding cakes are reminiscent of the taste, texture and designs she learned with her mom. Hansen thrives on seeing people happily eating her chocolate and bakery treats. For more information, visit

What did you think you would be when you grew up?
A court reporter.

Name one or some of your favorite movies.
“Sleepless in Seattle.”

Describe your perfect dream vacation.
Walking through Portabello Road in London.

What book are you currently reading?
“Why we want you to be rich: Two men – one message” by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki.

Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Alton Brown of the Food Network.

What’s your pet peeve?
Slow service.

I’d give anything to meet:
Oprah Winfrey

The best piece of advice that I’ve gotten:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. 

What excites you most about your job?
Creating a new flavor that is “really good!”