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A Taste of Tradition

Joe Ter-Poghossian | Mignon Chocolate 

orange peel and chocolate

NHM Online Presents ChocoLAte: From Beans to Bliss, a video series celebrating the diversity of Los Angeles and its people through the lens of chocolate.

Joe Ter-Poghossian, chocolatier and owner of Mignon Chocolate, talks to NHM about his journey to confectionery perfection. 

Mignon Chocolate is a family-run business whose history spans three countries and three generations. Watch the video below to learn more about this thriving business and L.A. institution. 

The Family Business 

Joe Ter-Poghossian is the proud inheritor of a tradition of making food that brings people together. Joe is the third-generation owner of Mignon Chocolate, a family business founded in 1935. Mignon is famous for their decadent chocolate treats and is a staple institution in the Los Angeles chocolate community. Among their unique desserts are candied and chocolate-covered orange peel strips, a delicacy invented by Joe’s grandfather. Having their flagship store in Glendale, they maintain strong ties to the Armenian community. Mignon chocolates are a mainstay of many Armenian weddings, birthdays, and celebrations. They even make chocolates decorated with the letters of the Armenian alphabet, “to basically teach the kids,” says Joe. 
 

Joe holds box of chocolates
Joe Ter-Poghossian holds a box of Mignon's famous candied orange peels in his Glendale chocolate shop.

Joe and the continuing story of Mignon Chocolate trace their roots back to Ukraine in the early 20th century, when an Armenian man named Hovsep Ter-Poghossian Sr. founded a bakery in Kharkiv. Despite running a prosperous bakery, Hovsep was imprisoned by the Soviets who demanded he turn over his fortunes to the regime. As Hovsep remained jailed and as World War II began to engulf the U.S.S.R., his family fled to Tehran, Iran. Hovsep rejoined his family in Tehran after his release, and there he restarted his bakery business. Following Hovsep’s passing, his sons, Rouben and Onnik, took over the family business in the 1950s. They brought with them fresh business ideas and a passion for making chocolate. The business transitioned from making bread into a full-fledged chocolate factory, often serving Iranian royalty. Young Joe would often find himself in the family’s chocolate factory, learning closely from his father how to run a business and make fine chocolate. 

My dad was a special character. He was a perfectionist. He wanted everything done perfectly, no shortcuts. Everyday he taught me something new. Today, I walk into the factory, I see his touches...He's just special to me

Joe Ter-Poghossian
Joe mixes chocolate

Joe prepares the chocolate that he will use to coat candied orange peels as well as dates.

chocolates on tray

Mignon chocolates are as beautiful as they are delicious. Joe explains, “As a customer, you have to look at the creation, the piece itself. It has to be perfect.”

chocolates on display

One of each, please. Mignon offers a variety of exquisite, handcrafted chocolates.

1 of 1

Joe prepares the chocolate that he will use to coat candied orange peels as well as dates.

Mignon chocolates are as beautiful as they are delicious. Joe explains, “As a customer, you have to look at the creation, the piece itself. It has to be perfect.”

One of each, please. Mignon offers a variety of exquisite, handcrafted chocolates.

Joe and his brother moved to Glendale in the 1980s to live with their maternal grandparents. After graduating from university, Joe climbed the ladder of success in the insurance business. However, something was missing. After being reinvigorated by a trip back to Tehran, Joe decided to continue in the family business and open a Mignon factory and shop here in Los Angeles, thus, in 2004, Glendale’s very own Mignon Chocolate was born. Today, Mignon has locations in both Glendale and Pasadena. Joe and his family remain committed to producing high-quality sweets, continuing the family legacy of nearly a century of hard work, innovation, and resilience. 

EXPLORE MORE FROM MIGNON

Ready to try Mignon's delicious chocolates? Click here to find store locations and build your own box of chocolates!

SPILL THE CACAO BEANS ON YOUR CHOCOLATE FAVORITES

Is chocolate an important part of your celebrations? Do you know another L.A. chocolatier who lovingly connects with their community? We want to hear from you! Join the conversation on social media and tag us @NHMLA with #chocoLAte.


Following the success of Kneaded: L.A. Bread Stories and L.A. at Play: Dolls & Figurines, we're celebrating the history, heritage, and communities of Los Angeles through the lens of different cultural traditions. This year, ChocoLAte: From Beans to Bliss, seeks to inspire, captivate, and tap into the deep-rooted love for chocolate that flows through the veins of this vibrant city.

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