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Dude, Sweet!

Submitted by on January 27, 2010 – 11:32 pm2 Comments

My husband and I were in Oak Cliff, Texas this last weekend, having a romantic, but local, weekend getaway. On Saturday night, I noticed an ad in one of the hotel brochures for Dude, Sweet Chocolates.  I had met Katherine and her business partner months ago. Actually, they had come to my home business (Stampola), looking for interesting rubber stamp designs for their packaging. I sold them a few different stamps (which I’m happy to see they are using! Yay!). Anyhow, our curiosity got the best of us, and even though we thought it highly, highly doubtful they would be open on a Sunday morning (this is Texas you know!), we headed out to Oak Cliff in the AM to see what we would see.

When we drove up, we were a bit shocked to see the door was actually OPEN. I immediately started thinking that it was a construction crew or something of the sort in there, and we would walk up and get strange looks from guys hanging sheetrock. Lucky for us I was very wrong. We were enthusiastically greeted by Katherine, who was already in the shop, working away.

The store is actually in the Bishop Arts district of Oak Cliff, Texas, just south of downtown Dallas.  When you enter the building, which seems to be authentically antique and very charming, you are greeted by a warm chair and cool cowskin rug. Very Texas and very Bohemian all at the same time. I could tell I was going to like this place.

Chris went into information gathering mode and started talking with Katherine, while I was taking photos. Katherine has apparently been a pastry chef for years and years, and for many very respectable establishments. Me being a restaurant “know nothing”, I didn’t recognize the establishments, but I bet anyone of any real culinary knowledge would. She uses both local and non-local ingredients, because “sometimes, honestly, local is not the best, and I want to use the BEST ingredients to make my chocolates” (I reworded that from memory, I am not well known for having any remnant of verbatim memory, but I get the gist).  The other interesting thing is she specializes in only DARK chocolate, which made my husband VERY happy.

Here’s a little blurb taken from a D-Magazine’s “The Best of Big D 2009” Issue, that does Katherine a little more culinary justice than my description:

Owner Katherine Clapner told us, “I believe the name—Dude! Sweet!—is actually better than the chocolates.” Don’t believe her. The talented chocolatier and former executive pastry chef for Stephan Pyles uses single-origin Venzeuelan, Colombian, and African cocoa beans along with Lucky Layla Farms Texas butter, Steen’s cane syrup, and a variety of exotic spices and nuts to craft her sultry sweets. With flavors like Hill Country (Texas lavender and honey), Black & Blue (Guinness and black currant), Curried Banana (yellow curry and caramel), and Tahitian (passion fruit and ginger), Clapner’s creations quickly sell out at places like Scardello, Bolsa, and Flavors from Afar.

Her packaging is very understated and natural looking, which goes very well with our Stampola quirkiness.

Stampola Dragonfly Rubber Stamp

I was really happy to see on her shelves some of the artwork that she purchased from us. Our Dragonfly rubber stamp adorns one of her packages. She also used the Nervous Santa at Christmas, and will be using the Chicken with a Huge Egg around Easter and Leg Rub stamp for Valentines. Very, very cool.

Truth be told, I had to get Chris to take the Chocolate we purchased out to the garage to hide it from me. It was that delicious. I work from home, and to be in this house, with that stuff in the kitchen all day, so incredibly tasty…not happening. Way, way too yummy. Way, way too bad for my thighs. I don’t have the self-control to withstand it, so it has been hidden from my sight.

Chris, however, is really enjoying it, and has been stingily sharing it (1 or 2 pieces only) with a couple of his very best friends.

Each box has a card inside that shows an image that matches an imprint on the top of each of the chocolates. This is how they are labelled and you can tell which one you are eating. There are amazing chocolate flavors in the boxes like Carrot Cake, Marakesh (with fresh dates), Mint Julep (with Maker’s Mark and Mint), Apple Jack (apple butter and Jack Daniels), among others. Remember, these are all Dark Chocolate treats. Just simply amazing.

If you’re in Oak Cliff, Texas, go into the Bishop Arts district and tell Katherine “Hi” from Mindy and Chris at Stampola.  If you can’t get there, you can order online or by calling her. Go to her website (http://www.dudesweetchocolate.com)  for more information.

Oh, and I did find a link to their Menu online, you can access that here: Dude, Sweet Chocolate Menu.

I also heard that Central Market will be carrying her Chocolates during Valentines Day. I’m not sure if one of the Stampola designs was use on the packaging for those, but I will certainly have to go in there very soon and check it out. All the Valentines stuff is now out and available throughout the store.

Psssssssttttt….this stuff would make a great “from Dallas, Texas” gift to most anyone you are trying to really impress.

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