A famed Hudson Valley chocolate shop owner has suddenly passed away and his business is now closed for good.

The owner of one of the top chocolate businesses in the Hudson Valley for almost 30 years passed away on Saturday after battling a sudden illness.

Oliver Kita began his career a few years after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1989.  His first business was a cafe in Woodstock called Heaven. A decade after opening the cafe, Kita turned his attention towards his love of chocolate and enrolled in L’École Lenôtre and L’École du Grand Chocolat Valrhona in France before finishing his studies at the Academy du Chocolat Barry-Callebaut in Montreal.

Armed with an array of chocolate knowledge, the CIA graduate opened Oliver Kita Fine Confections in Rhinebeck. It's there that he gained attention for his unique chocolate pairings that included florals, herbs, spices and other inspired flavors. We were fortunate enough to spend a morning with Oliver discussing how wine can enhance the flavor of chocolate.


Oliver Kita had recently moved his chocolate shop from Rhinebeck to a smaller location on Route 28 in Kingston before discovering that he had developed late-stage liver disease.

The chocolatier was hospitalized in early October. An online fundraiser was launched to help Oliver and his husband Kevin pay medical bills, as well as cover expenses involved in closing the chocolate business.

On October 30, the GoFundMe site posted an update announcing Kita's death.

Our beloved Oliver transitioned peacefully and gracefully on Saturday... Kevin lovingly watched over him once the decision was made on Friday that all medical options had been exhausted for his treatment and Oliver remained in an unresponsive state.


The fundraiser is being kept active to help assist Kevin with any remaining medical bills and business-related expenses.

Services for Kita will be held at 10am on Friday, November 3 at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock.

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Gallery Credit: Boris

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Go ahead, be a kid again. Grab a bunny for yourself!

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