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Meet Sandrine Casanova-Paccallet of Chocolatine French Cafe in Ventura County (Thousand Oaks)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandrine Casanova-Paccallet.

Sandrine and Ludovic Gaudin found Chocolatine while visiting the Thousand Oaks area on vacation and fell in love with the charming café, so much so that they decided to start an adventure and take over ownership. In 2014, they left their life in France behind and never looked back!

Since then, they’ve put their indelible stamp on Chocolatine, bringing a warm and welcoming slice of France to the heart of Thousand Oaks, and becoming a beloved fixture on the Thousand Oaks Blvd. strip. Chef Ludovic spends his days in the kitchen whipping up fluffy quiches, buttery croissants, colorful macaroons, and delectable chocolates, while Sandrine manages the café, charming every customer with devilishly strong coffee, a radiant smile, and a wry sense of humor.

Chocolatine takes pride in using French chocolate to deliver authentic café cuisine, and their recipes rely on a range of fresh ingredients. They even make their own mayonnaise and salad dressing daily! You’ll never have to worry about frozen fare when you dine at Chocolatine. It’s all part of their dedication to providing customers with exceptional meals and a delightful experience they’ll want to repeat again and again.

With the goal of creating an inviting venue that begs you to linger over every flaky bite of croissant and sip of rich café mocha, Sandrine and Ludovic have cultivated a truly unique and engaging atmosphere, and a dining experience you won’t soon forget. At Chocolatine, you feel like family from the moment you walk in the door and catch an intoxicating whiff of croque monsieur on the grill, and that’s just the way Sandrine and Ludovic like it.

Has it been a smooth road?
Our business was existing for more than 10 years when we bought it. So, we were lucky enough to already have a clientele to start with. But year after year, our clientele changed, probably thanks to our personality. And our business continued growing.

We had some though times though. In November 7th 2018, we had a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, at the Borderline grill & Bar, which brought a dark ambiance right away, then the city got hit by the fire and we had to evacuate our business for three days since the fire was so close. the next few months after that were challenging… but not as much as it is today with the pandemic.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a small French cafe in the heart of Thousand Oaks, serving local customers, from breakfast to afternoon snacks. We make everything ourselves (except the chocolates from ‘Chocolats du calibressan) and our menu is very authentic: quiches, crepes, croques monsieur…. It is unique because so authentic, with a real feeling to be in France. We build a strong relationship with our customers and this is what we are really proud of: it’s more than food, it’s a whole experience!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I am talking about Thousand oaks right now, because I don’t really know much about LA area. I think that small businesses are rising again (without thinking of the actual crisis) and I think people are looking more and more for authentic and specialized places rather than big companies. I think there is still a big potential for hard workers who want to build their own cafe/ restaurant/ eatery.

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