Wearing a “Back in 5 Minutes” Zara T-shirt and a long black skirt, tennis star Maria Sharapova exuded confidence and composure during the debut of her new chocolate line at the Sweets & Snacks Expo last month.

The tall (6 ft. 2 in.) And tanned athlete looked relaxed and rested, eager to talk about her new line of chocolate bars, which are being produced by Baron Chocolatier, a subsidiary of the European Chocolate Millano Group in Poznan, Poland.

“I’m excited about the process and journey of taking Sugarpova into a different sector, chocolate. It represents the evolution of our brand,” she says. Noting that she would be meeting with a whole range of buyers during the coming 48 hours, Sharapova indicated she was looking forward to telling the story of the brand’s new line of chocolate bars, which is about a gifting opportunity.

“It’s about the buying experience, about looking forward to receiving a gift,” she explains. The 3.5-oz. chocolate bar line uses all natural ingredients, qualifying it for non-GMO, kosher and halal claims. The Sugarpova chocolate bars will initially feature four varieties — Dark Chocolate 70%, Dark Chocolate 50% with Toasted Coconut, Milk Chocolate and Milk Chocolate with Strawberry — and retail between $3.99 to $4.99. 

“I was looking for an indulgent moment that’s healthy,” she says. “We examined a variety of different formulas, working with Baron’s candy chef. We were certainly experimental, looking to bring something unique to the market, particularly since we are competing against some very luxurious brands.

“The Toasted Coconut with Dark Chocolate is my personal favorite,” Sharapova adds.

The tennis star was also involved in the packaging design, which features red lips on a white background.

“The lips were my baby; we wanted to create a packaging design that was a bit more mature,” she adds.

But what about the very notion of a world-class athlete selling candy and chocolate; is that a disconnect?

“I had to question that myself many times,” Sharapova says. “One would think the two wouldn’t go along together. Still, everyone has a sweet tooth. I remember growing up as a youngster that I’d get a treat after practice, a lollipop. I believe there has to be moderation in moderation.” 

As she goes on to explain, most nearly everyone knows “what’s good for the body. It’s all about keeping it clean.” 

And that’s what Sharapova and Baron have done with the new line of chocolates. Moreover, the all-natural chocolate bars scored well on taste.

“We had the National Confectioners Association taste panel review our chocolates and the feedback was very positive,” she says. It’s enough to make even a world-class tennis star giddy.