After a great deal of planning, faith and up-front investment, Chocolat d'Arte has driven into Houston's burgeoning food truck scene with a new, spotless van. Rich graphics laden with photos of some of the chocolates on offer adorn the sides.
Entrepreneur and artisan chocolatier Nancy Burke, of Chocolat d'Arte, has been making high-quality chocolate truffles for about a year now. I think I may have been one of the earliest recipients when my husband asked her to make boxes of custom chocolates for my birthday last year. I remember being absolutely awed at their beauty as they twinkled at me in glints of gold, green and red.
You might wonder how chocolates can sparkle. Well, edible glitter adorns the majority of Chocolat d'Arte's creations. Every time I see a box full of the filled assortments, they remind me of little jewels.
They're not so little, though. Some of them, such as her "turtles," are generously sized indeed. It takes a few bites to finish them, and it should. These are the kind of chocolates you want to savor. Nancy is always playing around with new ingredients and exotic flavors, using local ingredients whenever possible.
The turtles are made with Blue Heron Farm's cajeta (caramel sauce made from goats' milk). Another truffle, the lemon-blueberry, is made with their goat cheese. Other locally sourced ingredients include Way Back When Dairy's cream, and peaches and pecans from nearby farms.
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Inside, Nancy sells pre-packaged boxes of her confectionery delights. Her newest item, and my current personal favorite, is a 10-piece assortment called "The Seven Sins of Chocolate (Plus Three)." Each flavor represents one of the seven deadly sins, with the remaining three being rather tongue-in-cheek. They don't taste sinful, though; they seem much more closely related to something from above. The "sins" flavors include peanut butter bacon, for Gluttony, and red hot cinnamon for Lust. The "plus three" are Angelic (lemon blueberry goat cheese), Purgatory (a small bar of half white and half dark chocolate) and Devilish (cocoa nibs; when we tried it, we also got a strong hint of coconut).
The Chocolat d'Arte truck made a recent appearance at Bacchus and is expected to return regularly, including on Valentine's Day. Nancy is hoping to receive more invitations from local businesses to park and show off her boxes of little gems. Keep up with the progress by following @chocolatdarte on Twitter, checking their Facebook page or visiting their web site.