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Day 94: SoWe Taste… Chocolations

Day 94: SoWe Taste… Chocolations

Dark Onyx truffles made with 72% chocolate -- healthier than your typical chocolate!

Dark Onyx truffles made with 72% chocolate — healthier than your typical chocolate!

You know you’re in for a treat as soon as you crack open the door at 607 E Boston Post Rd.  Churning out about fifty pounds of chocolate daily on average, Chocolations turns passersby into customers with just a quick whiff of the homemade confections they’re making inside.  The aroma alone captured my heart. Known across Westchester for award-winning truffles, Chocolations boasts a large selection of products, ninety-five percent of which are made in the back of the store.  Chocolates come in all shapes and sizes, wrapped in cellophane or boxed, and are fully customizable to customer specifications.  This visit, seasonal chocolates included large ties for Father’s Day, a plethora of gifts for teachers and graduations, and flip-flop shaped pops.

A mantra to live by

A mantra to live by

Whether commemorating a special occasion or stopping in for a tasty snack, you cannot possibly emerge from Chocolations empty-handed.  The store is very cognizant of those with dietary restrictions of all kinds and truly has something for everyone.  Their allergy free chocolates are among the few items not made on the premises—these are actually crafted by a former Chocolations intern in a different facility, but they’re nearly identical to the store’s regular chocolates. Owner Maria Valente was baking apricot squares in the back when I stopped by.  While I was unable to stick around long enough to sample her fresh treats, I did taste and thoroughly enjoy every morsel of Valente’s famed dark chocolate truffles, dark chocolate Oreo bark, and milk chocolate caramels.  I brought home several samples of other equally noteworthy goodies as well, including a piece that I likened to a fancier, yummier Snickers bar.

Maria Valente, Chocolations owner and passionate chocolate-maker!

Maria Valente, Chocolations owner and passionate chocolate-maker!

Milk chocolate and potato chip bark is a newer offering that nicely fuses sweet and savory flavors together.  Valente prides herself on keeping up with and even staying ahead of trends in the industry, as reflected in this crispy creation.  She is very passionate about a seventy-two percent dark chocolate that she’s been toying with recently, as it is considerably healthier than the average dark chocolate and drastically less bitter.  You can find it incorporated into various bars and truffles throughout her store that have quickly grown immensely popular. Each day, Valente works with her small team of seven employees to recognize her lifelong dream.   Almost thirty years ago, she began making chocolate in her home strictly as a hobby when her children were young.  Valente shared her homemade, seasonal chocolates with family and friends and began selling them at the school where her sister worked—and subsequently, at a school where she herself worked.  In the meantime, Valente attended law school and worked both in real estate and in computers, only to come to the conclusion that chocolate was her true passion and calling.

Chocolate and wine pairing kits

Chocolate and wine pairing kits

With little money and a whole lot of nerve, Valente opened Chocolations on Mamaroneck Avenue in 2007.  At this time, Chocolations was a small shop where she would remain for three years.  In 2010, with the help of her friend and business partner Hank Pomponio, Valente moved Chocolations to its larger, current location. With this physical growth came the natural expansion of inventory.  Predictably packed during December, Chocolations saw less business during summer months.  Valente realized that chocolate is not the quintessential July or August snack and began serving Longford’s ice cream and frozen yogurt at her store.  Even more recently, her team has implemented a lunch menu, where patrons can enjoy dishes like salads and quiches in comfortable, chocolate-colored armchairs.

Perfect end-of-year teacher gifts!

Perfect end-of-year teacher gifts

Chocolations round two has the capacity to host special events.  Popular are children’s birthday parties, where attendees make their own candy bars, enjoy frozen yogurt or pizza, and decorate cupcakes.  The latter entails a lot more than frosting and sprinkles—cupcakes are usually designed using pastry bags to look like dogs, flowers, or whatever the child’s heart desires! There are also both private chocolate-making and continuing education classes regularly available at Chocolations, open to people of all ages.  A weekly English-style afternoon tea takes place at Chocolations on Saturdays from 12 to 5pm via a partnership with Lola’s Tea House.  Reservations are required for pairs wishing to take advantage of this special menu of scones, tea sandwiches, salad, chocolate, and of course, tea.

Chocolations 7

Mouth-watering dark chocolate truffles

Pay a visit to this one-of-a-kind chocolate shop in Mamaroneck, but also keep an eye out for some of Valente’s creations around Westchester.  The Iron Tomato carries her Oreo bark, and a catering company serves her truffles.  Who knows where she’ll turn up next! Understandably most proud of her truffles, which come in a wide variety of seasonal flavors, Valente revealed the strangest custom order she’s ever filled: the replica of a man’s face.  This involved constructing a silicon mold for the chocolate and dusting the final face in gold to create a statuesque feel.  Sounds like quite the undertaking, but the ultimate personal gift! www.chocolations.com TwitterInstagramFacebookpurchase prednisoneprednisoneamoxicillin and zyrtec

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