Buddy’s Chocolate Haus is one of the most delicious and boutique L.A. weed stories of the last decade, but 2021 might be the year everyone else finds out.
It’s a tale of an immigrant family coming to L.A. and settling in Sun Valley, a dad becoming a chocolate expert, and his cannabis-savvy sons turning it into a family business on par with the best weed chocolate in the state.
Buddy’s was a very limited run in the medical cannabis era. The company maxed out at between five and seven dispensaries carrying their product prior to legalization. But as the clock was ticking on the arrival of the legal market, they knew they wanted to be a part of what was to come.
Garen Razoian, who founded the company with his brother Armen, explained how it all come together over the years.
“It goes back to my dad being in the chocolate business, making chocolate – gourmet chocolates. And then around 2009, my brother and I were eating different edibles that were available. And as far as the chocolate goes, we knew we could do a better job,” Razoian told L.A. Weekly. “That’s when we kind of put our skills together with my dad’s chocolate skills and life skills – just being involved in the industry – and started producing our own chocolate.”
While his dad knew chocolate and had passed on a lot of knowledge to his boys, Razoian had been involved in the cultivation side of things during the medical era. From there, he started dabbling in concentrates, eventually consulting on a few lab buildouts. When it came time to score distillate for his family’s products, he knew exactly what he was looking for. The more pure the product he was able to get his hands on, the easier it would be to mask the flavor.
After about 14 months in development, with the brothers working on the recipe on a daily basis, eventually coming to describe it as a family twist on the Belgian style, the brothers had a product they could take to market. And again, this is before most of the chocolate names we see today were even a twinkle in their founder’s eye as they worked their hedge fund or tech exit.
“We were not really focused on expanding all across the state,” Razoian said. “We just kept it smaller, like five or six shops. That’s all we were in, all in the L.A. area. Which is why we probably are not as well-known as some of the other brands.”
One thing about the cannabis chocolate game is they tend to taste a little bit weedy or don’t get you ripped. Few have found a nice middle of the road. Buddy’s is in a small pack riding the center divide. We asked Razoian how hard it was to toe the line where so many fall short.
“That part of it comes down to how we formatted the chocolate to mask,” Razoian
said. “Some of it is the taste of the cannabis, as well as my expertise on the extraction side and having run labs to get a very high-purity extract. We use basically the highest possible purity distillate that you can get. We have very specific criteria that we have for the oil that we use. So basically, with that, we get a minimal amount of taste or no taste at all. But a full effect.”
We asked Razoian how much stronger he could make the bars and maintain the pristine flavor. He presumed they could at least double it. Back in the day, their strongest products had 400mgs of THC, but that is sadly now four times the legal limit.
“Each flavor has to be dialed in,” Razoian said. “With how we formulate the chocolate itself. What we infuse it with. As far as our mint flavor, it’s a mint essential oil that’s in there. It’s a very high-quality mint essential oil and it’s very strong. So that essentially covers it all, like you can’t even tell at all.”
A lot of old-school brands in Los Angeles were lost to licensing. How was Buddy’s able to make the cut?
“We lucked out because we were working with shops that were willing to vouch for us with the social equity program in Los Angeles. We were able to get into that social equity program and get licensed under it back in 2018,” Razoian explained.
Buddy’s flavor lineup currently includes Classic Milk, Mint Milk, Strawberry Crunch White, Classic Dark, Cranberry White, Hazelnut Milk and Munchie Milk Chocolate – with peanut butter, pretzels & potato chip crunch. And finally, an Oreo Crunch White Chocolate.
You can now find Buddy’s Chocolate Haus all over L.A.