by Steven Doyle
Chocolate triggers the feel-good endorphins that make you feel even happier than when you kiss someone. Depending on how much you eat, it’s good for your cardiovascular health. But that’s not really romantic.
It’s velvety, smooth, rich, and sweet – its very nature speaks of luxury. Even the ancient Mayans used cocoa beans as a currency, so you know it’s valuable. A beautifully packed box of handmade chocolate truffles not only tastes delicious but it looks lovely as well, adding that sense of value to the gift. And by choosing a specific box for someone, it shows that you actually took the time to think about what they would enjoy, which makes the gift that much more meaningful.
Today we explore chocolate in the Dallas area that will be sure to make your loved one happy this holiday season. Be sure to buy extra to have around for last minute gifts, and chocolate makes for the perfect hostess gift.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate: Celebrating ten years serving the DFW area, Dude is run by the inimitable Katherine Clapner who is a graduate of the famed Culinary Institute of America. She literally worked across the planet spreading her chocolate cheer, from the Savoy in London to the Hotdl Cipriani in Venice. More recent years she was pâtissier for Stephan Pyles. Dude, Sweet is located in Bishop Arts and has a new location downtown at 1604 Main wedged between Nieman’s and the Joule Hotel. Find luxury chocolates with a fun spin on them that drives tasters wild with passion. With Whistle Pig infused truffles to her now famous Crack-in-the-Box with dark chocolate nibs, hazelnut, almonds, macadamias and soy nuts, all her truffle, bars and potions deliver as promised. The shop has a liberal try-before-you-buy vibe.
Dr Sue’s: Dr. Sue is a practicing physician on a mission to inspire people to a healthier lifestyle through all-natural dark chocolate. Dr. Sue believes all-natural chocolate offers a richly decadent yet more healthful and beneficial confection. She emphasizes the importance of premium quality, all natural ingredients without preservatives or artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. She is also good for a great hug. Holiday choices include Orange Cranberry Bark which is dark chocolate infused with orange and topped with candied orange peel and dried cranberries. Looks as beautiful as it tastes. We also enjoy her Orangettes, which are fresh, organic orange peels are cut into the perfect sized finger food and then meticulously candied. Once these sweet and fresh oranges are dipped in a luscious dark chocolate, they make an irresistible treat for the fruit and chocolate lover.
CocoaAndre: Andrea Pedraza, accomplished master of truffle creation and chocolate design, brings a delicious old-world charm to her craft. After completing her apprenticeship in the late 80s with an eminent local chocolatier, Andrea began to explore and innovate on her own, combining traditional European techniques with modern flavors from Mexico. She perfected her unique style over the following 30 years, opening her own chocolatier near Dallas’ eclectic Bishop Arts District in 2009. Her offerings are massive, and beautiful. We suggest the Classic Truffle Collection which includes sea salt caramel, dulce de leche, cafe con leche, raspberry lavender, di amore, double fudge, hazelnut, strawberry passionfruit, creme de menthe, dark and white, blood orange and bourbon pecan.
Chocolate Secrets: The chocolate shop has somewhat of an identity crisis. It wants to be this cool wine bar that serves up healthy slices of jazz most evenings. Chocolate Secrets also offers some of the best and certainly beautiful chocolate in Dallas. While adults enjoy Champagne Sorbet Floats or the flaming Tipsy Banana Split, the munchkins can take their time happily sampling their favorite flavors of ice cream. Secrets specializes in these amazing hand-colored bonbons that are almost too pretty to eat. But eat! We recommend the 32 Piece Collection made up of Ancho Chile, Bananas Foster, Brandied Cherry, Brown Butter Caramel, Coconut Lime, Earl Grey Tea, Strawberry Margarita, Orange Cointreau, PB&J, Raspberry Liquor, Rosemary Caramel, Sea Salt Caramel, Strawberry Balsamic, Sunflower Seed Praline, Turkish Coffee, and Vanilla Bean (This collection contain 2 of each bonbon flavor).
Kate Weiser: Kate Weiser began her sweet journey early in life. As she grew, so did her extensive dessert cookbook collection. Kate enjoyed baking in her family kitchen and sharing her creations with friends and neighbors. She continued her passion by attending California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon graduation in 2005, she returned to her hometown and worked in various restaurants including Pachamama’s of Lawrence, Kansas and Kansas City’s 4 star restaurant, Bluestem under pastry chef Megan Garrelts and James Beard Award winner, Colby Garrelts. Her chocolates are as adorable as she is with flavored bonbons hand-colored with pure art in mind. We recommend the VIP Gift Boxwhere you will enjoy a 35-piece Artist Collection, Katey-Trail Mix Bar, Passion Praline Bar, Milk and Cookies Bar and Almond Apricot Bar.
Sublime Chocolate: Sublime Chocolate in Allen has cultivated a national customer base since it opened in 2008. Its corporate clients include cosmetics giant Chanel, in New York City. Chocolatier and co-owner Troy Easton draws on multi-ethnic influences for his confections, with flavors such as Golden Curry-Coconut, Caliente (flavored with chile peppers) and Thai Ginger. There are plenty of mainstream flavors too: Caramel With Sea Salt, Turkish Coffee, and Hazelnut Praline to name a few. You may also fashion your own bar while you wait with your own flavor profile. This is a spectacular ban-to-bar shop, something unheard of in the Dallas area.