For a decade, this small local purveyor of chocolate and coffee has served as Ouray’s own legendary chocolate factory, serving up regionally renowned handmade delicacies and house-roasted coffee that have secured a large and loyal following.
“People enjoy having something like this as part of their tradition,” says Mouse’s co-owner Heidi Kremeier. “People tell me they have been coming to Ouray for years, and that they stop by the shop every time they’re here.”
Kremeier is the Willie Wonka of Ouray’s chocolate factory; the woman behind the Mouse’s magic. And while she admits that Mouse’s chocolate recipe boasts no single “secret” ingredient, every cocoa-infused treat you’ll find there has one important thing in common: Callebaut Belgian Chocolate.
“European chocolate is superior to American chocolate,” she says, explaining that regulations surrounding the manufacturing of American-made chocolate tend to dilute the chocolate’s true depth and character. Kremeier makes every truffle, turtle, and other chocolate treat in-house, by hand. Everything you’ll find in a Mouse’s treat was, most likely, born in the back of the shop as well, since Mouse’s makes everything – from the marshmallows in its Rocky Road bark, to the toffee beneath its milk chocolate coating, to the caramel floating between the in-house-roasted pecans of Kremeier favorite dark chocolate turtle – right here in Ouray.
Not only does every edible delight at Mouse’s boast a “Born in Ouray” designation, so too does its coffee. While the shop’s long glass chocolate cases stand as the first magnet for first-time guests entering the shop, the large, antique coffee roaster in the front window also receives its fair share of oohs and aahs. Co-owner and head coffee roaster John Weihert manages to keep the age-old art of coffee roasting alive by roasting all of Mouse’s coffee in-house, by-hand (following Mouse’s business motto.) He uses nothing but his own honed sense of smell, rather than a computer program, to determine the coffee beans’ premium level of doneness. “The art of coffee roasting is still happening” in Ouray thanks to Mouse’s, says Kremeier.
A visit to Mouse’s is a visual and olfactory, not to mention gastronomic, treat. Customers tend to experience a chocolate, coffee, and good company-induced sense of wellbeing while within Mouse’s chambers. Kremeier admits that the feeling is mutual; “It’s nice to create something that makes people so happy. People walk in the door and see the cases full of chocolate, and they come running up to the glass and their faces light up like little kids. It’s wonderful to be part of that experience.”
Mouse’s is located at 520 Main Street in Ouray, and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.