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Brown Paper Chocolates and Richard Kaplan

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Before Valentine's Day, I visited some local chocolate makers. Notably absent was Richard Kaplan of Brown Paper Chocolates. Kaplan has been making his rich, high-cocoa chocolate cubes in Houston for some years now. But there weren't any available in the retail outlets mentioned on the company website.

It turns out Kaplan isn't making the product for retail distribution anymore. "I haven't had the heart to take down the website," Kaplan told me when I ran into him at the Midtown Farmer's Market on Saturday. I bought a couple of his famous chocolates, including the one made with espresso and cocoa nibs seen in the photo.

Kaplan said he would keep selling chocolate at the Midtown Farmer's Market on Saturdays for now, but that was it. "It wasn't a successful business model," he said of the wholesale chocolate operation.

Kaplan said he spent most of 2009 in Colorado and was now back in Houston trying to raise money for a restaurant concept.

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