Vita 4

Local Shops Offer the Best 
When It Comes to Sweet Treats

Sweet Republic

Two international investment bankers, Helen Yung and Jan Wichayanuparp, met by chance in New York City while training with the same company. Seven years later, they started an artisan ice cream business that is now recognized as one of the top ten in the country by USA Today.

Yung was born and raised in Hong Kong and went to high school in America. After college, she became an investment banker. In 2002, she left the corporate world and went to Le Cordon Bleu in Australia. Although they had no restaurant experience at the time, she and Wichayanuparp decided to venture out into the ice cream industry.

“Ice cream is fun to make, it can be made in advance, there’s no waste and everyone leaves with a smile,” says Yung.

All recipes are original and contain locally-sourced products. The 20-plus flavors rotate daily and include favorites like Salted Butter Caramel Swirl, Fleur de Sel Caramel, Almond Buttercrunch, Rocky Road and Brownie Swirl. The Peaberry Expresso is made with Peaberry-roasted coffee beans from Café Cortez Coffee Company in Tempe. Their dairy-free sorbets are all made with fresh fruit and offer wonderfully distinct flavors, as found in their Coconut, Strawberry, Basil Lime and Peach, which is made with peaches from Schnepf Farms.

“When you’re tasting us, you’re tasting Arizona,” says Wichayanuparp, a true ice cream fanatic.

Their incredible, tasty homemade toppings include hot fudge sauce, salted caramel sauce, toasted marshmallow, almond toffee brittle, butter pecan, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and bacon brittle made with bacon sourced from Neuske, Wisconsin.


Sweet Republic

9160 E. Shea Blvd.

Scottsdale, AZ 85260


Zak’s Chocolate

The artisan chocolatier shop celebrated its first anniversary this past April and has definitely taken the chocolate world by surprise. The secret to its success? The owners make their own chocolate! Yes, Scottsdale has a chocolate factory that produces some of the best chocolate you’ve ever tasted.

Husband and wife team Jim and Maureen Elitzak both left careers in the finance industry to build a business that originally started as Maureen’s hobby. For over twenty years, Maureen was known for her chocolates, which she shared with family and friends, receiving rave reviews and encouragement to start her own chocolate business. She kept perfecting the taste of her chocolate, wanting to ensure the consistency of flavor was maintained with each batch. Maureen and Jim are now certified Chocolatiers and the recent recipients of a Bronze Medal for their Milk Chocolate Bar at the International Chocolate Awards.

Zak’s Chocolate starts by importing the finest cocoa beans directly from farmers in Peru, Madagascar, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Papua, New Guinea.

“These cocoa beans have different, distinct flavors due to the region they come from – similar to that of coffee and wine,” explains Jim.

The chocolate-making process takes a month from the grinding and roasting of the chocolate to the finished product. All their chocolates are made from scratch, without any preservatives, and infused with a wonderful selection of flavors. Many of the products they use are locally-sourced, including dairy, honey, peanut butter and craft beer. Other housemade treats include brownies, caramels and marshmallows. The brownies can be enjoyed in a flight of three, each made with chocolate from a different region and served warm.

One of their latest creations is a Cold Brew Mocha that has a mild, refreshing taste without any sugar. The brew is made from the seed of the Cacao Bean. It’s absolutely delicious, and to their knowledge, Zak’s Chocolate is the only place you can find it. Believe me when I say you’ll be back for more.


Zak’s Chocolates

6990 E. Shea Blvd. “Sweet” 116

Scottsdale, AZ 85254