The Best Chocolate in Dallas
Our favorite chocolatiers’ creations are as varied as their backgrounds.
For the Bon Vivant
Chocolatier: Andrea Pedraza
Specialty: Handmade European-style truffles and hand-cast molds
The Story: After 20 years at Rex Morgen Chocolates, Andrea Pedraza decided it was time to open her own shop. In 2009, she, along with one of her daughters, Cindy, opened CocoAndré Chocolatier. For the past two years, the duo has created hand-rolled truffles made with lots of butter and heavy whipping cream. Their High Heel Mold spent some time at the Dallas Museum of Art during the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit.
Provenance of Chocolate: Callebaut (Belgium)
Best-sellers: Raspberry lavender, raspberry ganache with crystallized violet lavender. Di Amore, milk chocolate ganache rolled in roasted almonds. Dulce de leche, caramelized milk and white chocolate ganache in milk chocolate. This month, Pedraza will have her High Heel Mold filled with 10 truffles.
Pedraza’s Favorite: Though she’s hard-pressed to pick a favorite, Pedraza remembers her Turkish Coffee chocolate, which was inspired by a trip to Israel. “Each chocolate has an individual personality,” she says. “There’s a good reason why I made that piece. I love them all.”
Contact: 831 W. Davis St. 214-941-3030
For the Nonconformist
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Chocolatier: Katherine Clapner
Specialty: Thinking outside the box
The Story: Clapner revolutionized chocolate in Oak Cliff when she opened her store in the Bishop Arts District in 2009. She started combining chocolate with flavors such as bourbon, foie gras, and tomatoes. February’s inspiration comes from her trip to a friend’s wedding in Europe in December. Who knows what she’ll come up with next?
Provenance of Chocolate: Chocolate Santander (Colombian single origin); Valrhona (France); Chocolates El Rey (Venezuela); Chocolate Luker (Colombia); and Domori Italian Chocolate. She also gets chocolates from places such as Peru, Africa, the Ivory Coast, Hawaii, and Ecuador.
Best-sellers: Albatross fudge with dark chocolate and dehydrated blue cheese and sea salt. Chubby Nuts with hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia, and soy and egg whites, powdered sugar, and sea salt. Vincotto toffee with fig, argan oil, and vincotto. Rosebud with rose petal jam fudge.
Clapner’s Favorite: One concoction that’s gotten close to being her favorite is the Holiday in Cambodia 100 percent dark chocolate bar. “It’s a hard sale. It’s really freaking intense,” she says. It’s pure cocoa mass with Cambodian palm sugar, dried balsamic powder, and black sesames.
For the Traditionalist
Chocolatier: Troy Easton
Specialty: Creating a versatile collection of chocolates, with everything from made-to-order bars to drinking chocolate
The Story: Troy Easton owned a catering business before going to law school. Then he met his wife, who changed everything. Big on entertaining, Easton often made chocolates for his guests. One night, his wife asked if he’d rather do that than be a lawyer. He said yes, and Sublime Chocolate was born. Easton doesn’t base his chocolate on reputation; he tastes every bit of it to make sure it’s what he wants to use. This lawyer-turned-chocolatier does his research.
Provenance of Chocolate: Valrhona (France); Belcolade (Belgium); Cacao Barry (French and Belgium); deZaan (Belgium); Askinosie Chocolate (Missouri); Amano Artisan Chocolate (Utah); Theo Chocolate (Seattle); Domori Italian Chocolate, Michel Cluizel (France); Francois Pralus (France); Republica del Cacao (Ecuador); and Chocolate Santander (Colombian single origin)
Best-sellers: Caramel with gray sea salt. Honey caramel with Hawaiian red salt, which has wildflower honey sourced from Stroope Honey Farms. Pecan Pie, a milk chocolate shell with pecan pie filling and white chocolate ganache. Milk chocolate bacon, infused with hickory smoke and maple roasted bacon. The Caliente, a dark chocolate shell with dark chocolate ganache infused with chile powder, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. The apricot, paprika, and chipotle pepper, made in honor of Easton’s 96-year-old grandmother. The
Habanero with dark chocolate infused with fresh lime and dried habanero chile.
Easton’s Favorite: He can’t choose just one. “Being a chocolatier is a selfish profession,” he says. “The reason I say that is because I make what I like. I think everything I make is my favorite.”
For the Health Nut
Dr. Sue’s Chocolate & Gourmet Candy
Chocolatier: Dr. Sue Williams
Specialty: Creating the healthiest dark chocolate possible
The Story: Several years ago, when journals started releasing data about the health benefits of dark chocolate, Dr. Sue Williams, a specialist in internal medicine, became intrigued. She did her own research and realized that people could have their chocolate and eat it, too. She went to a chocolate school in Chicago, came back, and started her business using only dark chocolate. “We exist to inspire people to a healthier lifestyle,” she says. “You can still eat wonderful food and enjoy it. Just be smart about what you do.”
Provenance of Chocolate: Callebaut (Belgium); Askinosie Chocolate (Missouri); and Valrhona (France)
Best-sellers: Hazelnut toffee bark, made with organic brown sugar, organic butter, and spiced nuts and sea salt. Orangettes, which are candied organic orange rinds dipped in dark chocolate. Organic fig truffle, made from Celeste figs, which grow in the Dallas area.
Williams’ Favorite: Blueberry Ancho Chile Bark. The sweetness from the dehydrated blueberries is counterbalanced with the ancho chile powder. Williams admits she enjoys the dark chocolate and blueberries with a bit of red wine.
Contact: 214-906-2578 or send email to email@example.com
For the Artist
Chocolatier: Kate Weiser
Specialty: Hand-painted chocolates
The Story: When Kate Weiser walked into Chocolate Secrets, her credentials included seven years as a pastry chef in restaurants. She hadn’t specialized in chocolate. “I wanted to give it a try because this was something completely new and completely challenging,” she says. Her specialty, hand-painted chocolates, takes four to five days to do. Each step—polishing, painting, shelling, filling, and capping—happens in a 10- to 12-hour shift. But they take only seconds to eat.
Provenance of Chocolate: European Imports; Noble Ingredients (France); Belcolade (Belgium); Michel Cluizel (France); Callebaut (Belgium); and Amano Artisan Chocolate (Utah).
Best-sellers: The sea salt caramel; ancho chile with cinnamon spices and cayenne pepper; 4-year aged gouda covered in dark chocolate ganache.
Weiser’s Favorite: Try as she might, Weiser can’t help but eat a Sea Turtle almost every day. Made with salted dark chocolate, pecans, and caramel, it’s nearly impossible to resist.
For the Nostalgist
Chocolatier: Stephen Smith
Specialty: Molded chocolate
The Story: Smith, who has a degree in political science from UT Arlington, always knew he wanted to cook, so he saved up some money for culinary school. But all he could afford to do was the pastry side of cooking, so he went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and fell in love with chocolate. After starting Chocolate Secrets’ in-house chocolate program, Smith launched his own thing. Look for his Texas Tortuga.
Provenance of Chocolate: E. Guittard (San Francisco); Valrhona (France); and Amedei (Italy)
Best-sellers: Texas Tortuga, Smith’s version of the turtle. It’s a big brick filled with burnt caramel and pecan praline and covered in dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Rosemary caramel, star anise, and Tahitian vanilla bean caramel are also fan favorites.
Smith’s Favorite: Oaxacan
spice, which Smith compares to a molé. It has a smoky sweet taste and is made with chiles and cinnamon.
Where to Buy: Bolsa Mercado
Paper & Chocolate