The Chocolate Collection at Central Market

Chocolate is the star during Central Market's Chocolate Collection.

Chocolate is the star during Central Market’s Chocolate Collection.

They go hand in hand; the roses and red hearts that decorate the windows of shops everywhere are indicative of Valentine’s Day, and wherever you find the gifts and flowers, some kind of chocolate is surely around the corner.

But this Valentine’s Day, it’s not just some kind of chocolate that you’ll find at Central Market. Rather, you’ll encounter all kinds of it. From February 6th through the 14th, Central Market will be hosting The Chocolate Collection, a celebration of chocolate from Dallas to Deutschland, featuring artisanal chocolates and chocolatiers from around the world.

The event, which will be celebrated at Central Markets throughout the Metroplex, will feature dozens of special events that introduce the audience not only to new chocolate techniques, flavors and uses, but also to the makers. On February 8th, for example, The Plano Central Market will be hosting Nick Crean, from Pretstat. Nick and his brother bought the 100-plus year old Prestat to maintain the legacy of this amazing chocolate company, which is one of the few British artisan chocolatiers to make all its own chocolates – not to mention that Prestat is also honored to hold a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen. Or if the Preston and Forest location is more convenient, you can meet with Dr. Sue Williams, of Dr. Sue’s Chocolate on February 13. Dr. Williams started her chocolate business on the premise that dark chocolate has many health benefits, and to that effect she uses wholesome ingredients and combines them with artisanal, European-style dark chocolate.2013_Chocolate_Kandinsky_Poster_72web

As for the Lovers and Greenville location, among the almost-daily events, you can visit with Alan McClure of Patric Chocolate during his in-store appearance on February 8th. McClure has spent years perfecting his U.S.-made,  bean-to-bar chocolate, which is made with only a handful of select, all-natural ingredients – such as the natural, dark-roasted peanuts in his PBJ OMG bar. There are events (sometimes several) to be found every day depending on which Central Market you can make it to – for a full calendar of what’s in store, check the Central Market event calendar.

But The Chocolate Collection isn’t only about the people who make it; there will be plenty of offerings to find and take home; dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate and hot chocolate only begin to describe the cocoa-laden bounty that Central Market will have to offer. Recchiuti chocolate from San Francisco, Willie’s Cacao Bars from England, and Galler Belgian Chocolate bars and tablets give just a sample of the geographic diversity to be found. And of course Dude, Sweet Chocolate, made by Dallas’s very own Katherine Clapner in Oak Cliff, will be among the celebrated confections. Clapner will also be hosting an event of her own at the Plano Central Market on February 12. Not one to sit idly on traditional flavors, Clapner and Dude, Sweet are committed to blending the finest chocolate with exotic and local flavors such as beet, curry, and Texas olive oil.

As for where to find the Chocolate Collection once you get there? You won’t have much trouble with that. As is Central Market’s custom, when they throw an event, they make it a store-wide celebration. The stores will have Heart-Shaped Chocolate Pot De Crème, White Chocolate Apricot Bread and the ever-famous Swiss Chocolate Dipped Strawberries in their bakeries, while the wine and beer department will be ready and waiting to help their customers find the perfect pairing for the chocolate (or chocolates) they’re taking home.

Though the season may be associated with chocolate, Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason to visit Central Market for their Chocolate Collection – the culinary uses for chocolate extend far beyond a sweet treat in a heart-shaped box. From Moles to rubs and myriad other savory applications, chocolate’s repertoire is only limited by the imagination.

About Rich Vana