Shelf Life and Storing Chocolate
The bonbons (truffles) taste best the sooner you eat them, ideally within a week or two. I do not add any preservatives or sugar to prolong the shelf life. Chocolates that can sit on a store shelf (or in your pantry) for many months typically contain sugar (e.g., glucose, invert sugar, corn syrup) to maintain the texture of chocolate fillings and prevent mold. I prefer the taste of chocolates without additional sugar.
All the chocolate barks and Ultra Thin Crunch naturally have a longer shelf life, at least a few months, since they do not include cream or aromatic flavorings. Still, these are also best sooner rather than later.
Keep all chocolates in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container, away from heat, sunlight, and cold. Do not put them in the fridge or freezer.
Ingredients and Allergens
NOTE: You can easily check the ingredients and allergens for every product on my website—just click on See Ingredients underneath the featured photo.
I make all of my products with a range of Valrhona chocolates, imported from France. Valrhona is widely recognized as one of the world’s finest chocolate manufacturers. Their chocolates are GMO free but may contain traces of peanuts and other nuts, gluten, and egg proteins. Valrhona recommends that people with these allergies do not consume their chocolate.
My kitchen is not nut-free. All my products are made with the same equipment and may contain traces of tree nuts and peanuts. I cannot guarantee that my chocolates are safe for people who are allergic to nuts or other foods.
All of the Valrhona chocolates I use contain a very small amount of non-GMO soy lecithin (typically, 0.5%), which contributes to their smooth and silky texture.
The dark chocolates do not contain any ingredients with gluten. Nearly all of my milk chocolate products are made with a Valrhona chocolate that contains barley malt extract. I can make many of my milk chocolates (except for Rice Crispies Bark) with an organic, gluten-free chocolate by request. However, the chocolate itself and all of my products are made with equipment that may contain traces of gluten.
Several of my dark chocolate products are made without any animal-based ingredients. These include:
- Almonds & Seeds Bark
- Cashew Cranberry Bark
- Maple Pecan Bark
- Pistachio & Rose Petal Squares
- Ultra Thin Crunch
- Dipped Apricots
- Vegan Indulgence (truffles)
I buy most of my ingredients at a variety of local shops, such as Whole Foods, Marty’s Fine Foods, Sevan Bakery, Boston Public Market, Vino Divino, Salt & Olive, Roche Brothers, and Haymarket. Whenever possible, I incorporate locally-made ingredients, such as Spiker’s Shrubs and Boston Harbor Distillery’s Maple Cream liqueur. I roast my own coffee beans and make my own raspberry and fig purées. In the summer, I grow my own mint.
My priority is to use the freshest, best-tasting ingredients. When developing new products, I want to make sure that the complex flavors of the chocolate and the pure goodness of each ingredient always shine through.
I’m forever on the lookout for new, interesting ingredients that pair well with chocolate. Whenever I travel, I pick up unusual foods and set to work figuring out what I can make with them. I can’t resist experimenting with interesting teas, spices, berries, edible dried flowers, salts and peppers, dried fruits—and anything crunchy.
The Vegan Indulgence truffles are currently the only product I make with organic, Fair Trade dark chocolate (and organic coconut milk). I use Valrhona’s organic, Fair Trade Peruvian Andoa milk chocolate for the ¡Mexican Fiesta! bonbons. All white chocolates feature Valrhona’s organic, Fair Trade Waina chocolate.
Valrhona has an excellent reputation in the chocolate industry for its Fair Trade initiatives. The company works closely with cacao farmers to guarantee a fair wage and support best practices for producing the highest quality cacao beans. Their efforts extend beyond the cacao farmers. For example, Valrhona donates a share of the earnings from cacao beans grown in Los Ranchos, Peru, to benefit the health of local villagers through a clean water initiative.
You can read more about Valrhona’s fair trade practices on their website.
I do not offer any sugar-free chocolates. Most of my dark chocolate products are made with 70% chocolate (the remaining 30% includes sugar, vanilla, and non-GMO soy lecithin). I rarely add any sugar unless it’s essential (for example, in caramels and Fig-in-a-Box).
No, my products are not Kosher.
No, I make all my products with chocolate manufactured by Valrhona. Making chocolate from cacao beans requires an entirely different set of skills and equipment. Valrhona chocolate is specifically created for chocolatiers and pastry chefs. It tastes amazing and is much easier to work with than lower-quality chocolates or even some of the best-tasting bean-to-bar chocolates.
Chocolate Orders and Retail Locations
My website offers the widest selection of chocolates, for pickup in Newton (by appointment) or Priority Mail delivery. It’s best to order a week in advance so I can make the chocolates for you. I keep a limited inventory on hand; feel free to call (617-803-3678) to find out what I have recently made and to set up a time to stop by.
I don’t have set hours; if I’m home and not in the middle of making chocolate, customers are welcome to stop by to purchase chocolates. It’s best to call first to make sure I’m home and have chocolates available.
I sell my chocolates at the Newton Holiday Craft Fair on the first Saturday in December at Newton City Hall. I don’t sell at any farmer’s markets; chocolates melt quickly in the warm weather.
At this time, I’m not able to donate chocolates.
Classes, Events, and Custom Orders
I host chocolate-making classes at my home in Newton about once a month from September through May. Classes cost $75/adult and $50/children (10–18). I also offer private classes at a mutually convenient time for a minimum of 6 people (maximum: 12 people).
Yes, I have organized truffle-making parties, chocolate tastings, chocolate and wine pairings, and other events at private homes and corporate offices. I can put together an event geared to your interests and budget.
Yes, I can work with you to create gift boxes, party favors, and platters for any occasion.
Shipping and Local Pickup
I ship chocolates by USPS Priority Mail. I charge a flat rate of $10 for shipping except for very large orders. I do not ship during the summer or when the temperature is above 70°.
I pack the chocolates to protect them from damage, but I can’t guarantee the condition of shipped chocolates. I don’t have any control over shipping delays, rough handling, weather conditions, or how long the package sits at your doorstep.
Local pickup is by appointment. I will email you when your chocolates are ready with some possible times for pickup. If you need them by a certain date, please let me know when you place your order.