Chocolate is a pretty safe bet with me. Give me a chewy chocolate chip cookie with big, dark chunks, or a dense chocolate torte, and I will gladly hand over the keys to my car, or let you do your laundry in the basement. But handmade, local chocolates? Sixty-four percent single origin wrapped around a milk chocolate ganache infused with fresh local produce and herbs? You could probably empty our safe deposit box.
I'd never had a chocolate like that until the other day. A woman named Danielle Verizone makes those specimens up there. The one in the back is called Minty Fresh, and the one up front is a local strawberry ganache with a piece of dried strawberry on top. Danielle started her business back in 2009, after taking a class at L.A. Burdick Chocolate in New Hampshire. She calls herself the Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier of Scituate, and she sells online and at the farmers' markets in Hingham, Falmouth, and Scituate.
The cool thing is that unlike most artisanal chocolatiers, she actually uses local produce and herbs in her chocolates. She was on her way to go strawberry picking in Bridgewater when I talked with her the other day, and for her other flavors, she uses things like basil from her garden and local mint and rosemary. Basically, they act as infusions—giving the dense milk chocolate ganache center its kick and flavor. She purees the berries or herbs, then heats them up with milk and honey, and finally purees the infused cream with milk chocolate. This makes a big slab of ganache, which she cuts into bite-sized pieces and dips in single origin sixty-four percent cacao dark chocolate. I tried four flavors—Rosemary with Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Spring Strawberry, Wild Minty Fresh, and Lavender Silk—and they were all delicious. Danielle puts out a new collection every season.
Right now, she's experimenting with raspberries and blueberries for summer—she's thinking raspberry-wasabi and blueberry lemon balm.
In the meantime, if you need a fix, there's a recipe to make your own chocolate sea salt caramels over here. Happy local chocolate, everyone.