A small shop right off I-270 in Des Peres, Missouri, is now a destination for intricate gourmet chocolates.

Meggie Mobley has opened a brick-and-mortar location for Bijoux Handcrafted Chocolates, which specializes in small-batch, hand-painted bonbons.

Mobley, who attended the University of Missouri for computer science before switching her focus to hospitality management, discovered her passion for hand-painted chocolates during a 24-week program at The French Pastry School in Chicago. While in school, she staged at Veruca Chocolates, which specializes in luxury milk and dark chocolate bonbons in flavors like burnt caramel, mango-passionfruit and blood orange Bellini.

“I was born and raised in St. Louis, so I knew Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate and Bissinger’s,” she says. “As amazing as what they are doing is, it’s very different from the artisan hand-painted designs I discovered. That was my first spark.”

Mobley worked with Veruca until she graduated and moved back home to St. Louis, where she began working with Rick Jordan Chocolatier while planning her own venture. She started Bijoux – which is French for “jewels” – out of her own home kitchen under the Missouri Cottage Food Law, and gained a following for her intricate bonbons at local farmers’ markets.

Mobley has been renovating the 750-square-foot space in Des Peres since last October and finally opened to the public in early July. Although the expanded space will allow her to increase the amount of treats on offer, including toffee and chocolate bars, the hand-painted bonbons remain the focus. The rotating selection features flavors like passionfruit, lemon-rhubarb and blood orange, but Mobley says the most popular flavors are brown butter-vanilla, peanut butter and salted caramel. "It's impossible to go wrong with a plain old salted caramel," she says. "It's everyone's favorite."

Keep an eye out for special limited-edition collections as well – to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday on July 31, for instance, Mobley is offering a Hogwarts-themed box with flavors like butterbeer-praline and fire whiskey. In the future, she hopes to be able to welcome guests into the space and offer chocolate-making classes.

Bijoux Handcrafted Chocolates is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6:30pm and Saturday from noon to 4pm. 

Bijoux Handcrafted Chocolates, 13014 Manchester Road, Des Peres, Missouri, 314.307.7303, bijouxchocolates.com