All you need is love. But a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt.
Charles M. Schulz, designer
National Chocolate Day is October 28.
Chocolate can reduce stress, increase cognitive performance, and soothe mental fatigue. Dark chocolate can help us lose weight. Truly? Eat some dark chocolate before a big meal, creating a 17% lower calorie intake – it’s all about chocolate and sugar. Chocolate can help your heart. According to the American Heart Association, combining dark chocolate, cocoa, and almonds can dramatically reduce the number of low-density lipoproteins or LDL (bad cholesterol) particles in the blood. So bring the chocolate!
When traveling, I always look for local chocolate companies. The Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex and Greater Texas have a surprisingly high number of decadent chocolate shops run by well-known chocolatiers with inspiring stories of how they got there. Here are nine of my favorites in no particular order.
1. Kate Weiser Chocolates, Dallas / Fort Worth
Chocolatier: Kate Weiser
After graduating from the San Francisco California Culinary Institute in 2005, working in various restaurants and as an executive pastry chef at Stephen Pyles’ Nobu, Kate honed her chocolate skills. After four years perfecting her chocolate craft, Kate created Kate Weiser Chocolates at Trinity Groves in Dallas in August 2014.
Kate created her collection of hand-painted chocolates to look like jewels with flavors of cherry, almond, habanero mango and strawberry basil, quickly gaining attention and enthusiasm. She teamed up with Neiman Marcus nationally and made Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2018 with âCarl,â a hot chocolate snowman. It was named Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Professional Dessert magazine in 2014 and continues to push the boundaries and make the most delicious chocolate ever. It has two other locations, North Park Center, Dallas, and The Shops of Fort Worth in Clearfork.
2. Chocolate Secrets, Dallas
Chocolatier: Rocio Estrada, MaÃ®tre Chocolatier, Pam G. Eudaric, Founder and CEO
Chocolates from Chocolate Secrets combine chocolate, art, tradition and innovation, individually handcrafted with organic, natural and premium ingredients. You will find artisan candies and cask aged whiskey, tequila, rum, Grand Marnier artisan candies. Select Cocoa Couture like hand formed high heels, cameos, cowboy boots or hats, the state of Texas, chocolate soccer balls or a trophy. Treat yourself to chocolate bars, chocolate covered fruit, nuts, mugs of peanut butter or personalized chocolate logos.
Attend a wine and chocolate pairing, afternoon tea, live jazz night, lunch or dinner, literary night or an open mic. Founded in 2003, Chocolate Secrets is a gourmet experience of chocolate and fine wines. The culinary experience in the kitchen, totaling more than 150 years, makes by hand more than 52 flavors of truffles and chocolate candies, more than 25 flavors of macaroons, 25 different pastries and more than 15 flavors of sorbets and ice cream.
3. Dude Sweet Chocolate, Dallas
Chocolatier: Katherine Clapner
Katherine Clapner of Dude Sweet Chocolate creates nutty bars like Crack In a Box, Creative Praline Bars, Pebbles Chai Bar, Pony Boy, Toga Bar and Chicken on the Move. Truffles and fudges are ganaches rolled in a thin chocolate shell, like When Pigs Fly Fudge, Flower Child Truffle, Hanoi Fudge or Stephan’s Pile. Soft butter caramels, made with cane sugar, French butter and chocolate, are cut into large cubes and rolled in South American dark chocolate like Black MMMmole Toffee and Tangerine Man Chocolate Toffee.
Did you notice the names of the creations? Katherine makes chocolate sauces and potions mixed with spirits or wine with agave and chocolate, which are great to add to coffee or spread on an apple slice. Fun freebies and seasonal items are Katherine’s Bucket of Favorites, Chocolate Salami, or her monthly pass. Specialized shipping is available even in summer with ice packs in Styrofoam boxes.
4. Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, Grapevine
Chocolatier: Dr Sue
A practicing physician with a mission to create healthy, all-natural dark chocolate, Dr. Sue’s Chocolate creates high-quality, richly decadent confectionery with all-natural ingredients without preservatives, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. You can feel good eating chocolate here, and she takes an active role in the community, donates to many charities, and emphasizes wellness education. You can get 54% Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate chips for your homemade baking or Venezuelan Araguani dark chocolate bars with flavors of currants, chestnuts and honey.
Choose an assortment of nuts from the chocolate bark, a mixed fruit or a mixture of fruits and nuts, ancho chili with blueberries or the holiday assortment of peppermint, cranberry orange or pumpkin spice with ginger by the pound. My favorite campfire bark is made with ingredients from s’mores, Belgian dark chocolate, homemade marshmallows, organic crackers and smoked sea salt, or try toasted almond bark with sea salt smoke. Yum!
5. CocoAndre Chocolatier Et Horchateria, Dallas
Chocolatier: Andrea Pedraza
Handcrafted truffles with gourmet flavors, bespoke confections like high heels and cowboy boots, and unique second-hand gifts made by this mother-daughter duo who started 11 years ago as CocoAndre. in a store in Oak Cliff. Mexican-American-Texan mom Andrea and Cindy are proud of the business they built, representing their culture and heritage, after starting out with less than $ 1,000 between them. Andrea’s experience dates back to a 25-year career as a master chocolate maker and production manager for one of Dallas’ first chocolate factories. Cindy is a single mom with experience in construction, as well as budgets and people management. With these talents, the team combined their skills and opened their chocolate factory.
In addition to gourmet chocolates, they make mezcal chocolate, mocha-chai latte, vegan dark chocolate, horchata and their latest chocolate skulls, Dia de Los Muertos Calaveras, in honor of the Day of the Dead. These will soon be available in 10 central markets across Texas, saluting Hispanic Heritage Month.
6. Chocolates and sweets from Isabella, Richardson
Chocolatier: Isabell Albert
Founded in 2010, Isabelly’s Chocolates and Sweet Treats started out at the Dallas Market Center, quickly winning the award for Best Chocolate with its Mexican Chocolate Truffle and second prize for its Strawberry Cake Truffle. Opening her storefront on Main Street in Richardson, she was quickly recognized for the best cake balls in Dallas and the best dessert in Richardson. She specializes in unique handmade Belgian fine chocolates, cake balls, handmade French macaroons and brownie truffles. In 2016, Isabell added hand-made gelatos, sorbets and ice cream in small quantities. Fall goodies to order are the Halloween Truffle Gift Box, Cookie Box, or Oreo Pops.
7. Sablon Chocolate Fair, Dallas
Sablon is North America’s first upscale living-dining room offering excellent quality chocolate desserts, drinks and small bites, all made to order from the highest quality Belgian and Italian chocolate. In addition to truffles and chocolate candies, download a full 18-page menu with decadent chocolate dishes like tiramisu or hazelnut hot chocolates, Belgian Frappes, Creme Brulee or Mocha Fraise. Treat yourself to a Chocotail with mint: vanilla ice cream, mint, topped with a dark chocolate sauce in a jar dipped in chocolate, or versions of tiramisu, hazelnut or caramel.
Enjoy a hazelnut Frappista, roasted coffee, vanilla ice cream, Nutella, topped with whipped cream and a chocolate donut in a chocolate-dipped jar. Order a brownie or a waffle shake or a Black Forest Grand Chocoshake. Enjoy chocolate fondues with fruit for dipping. Enjoy sweet pancakes like peanut butter and banana, or indulge in Chocopizzas or Chocolate Avalanche, a richly indulgent chocolate sundae.
8. Chocolates Maison Wiseman, Hico
Chocolatier: Kevin Wenzel
Studying fine arts in Europe, Asia, and the United States, and making chocolate at a fifth-generation chocolate school in Pennsylvania, Kevin Wenzel opened Wiseman House Chocolates in 1996 in Hico. The town is south of Fort Worth and the store is in a Victorian house a few blocks from where my grandfather lived. Kevin mixes real Belgian and Venezuelan chocolate with fresh whipping cream, chopped nuts, fruit, crushed coffee beans and liquors for the finest tasting chocolate destined to take you back to the ancient Mayans. Rather, it is about what it omits, such as trans fats, sodium nitrates, glutens and added sugars. Chocolate making classes are also available.
I love chocolate covered almonds or pecans. You can’t miss the cask aged bourbon caramels, chocolate almond rind, pecan caramel clusters, black mint bites or mocha crunch. Try TX Whiskey Truffles, Wild Truffles and Gift Boxes.
9. Chocolate (quintessential chocolates), Fredericksburg
Chocolatier: Lecia Duke, Chocolate Diva
The mouth-watering aromas of the chocolates captivate your senses, and the chocolates on display are a feast for the eyes, made by Lecia Duke since 1984. Lecia manufactures over 300 flavors with the zuckerkrust chocolate shell, refining the art of capturing a liquor center inside a delicious chocolate. Located on Main Street in Fredericksburg, Chocolat is next to the Fredericksburg vineyard. Savor the quintessential truffles, alcohol-filled chocolates, colettes, peels, caramels, silk fudges and clusters of nuts. You can’t resist one of each!
Pro tip: Explore these amazing online chocolate shops for irresistible chocolates that are shipped to you.
Many destinations have quality chocolate makers who offer their delicacies to travelers: