Cindy Pedraza of CocoAndré Chocolatier in Oak Cliff is used to business slowing down when the temperature rises.
“Chocolate isn’t a big seller in the summer, so a while back we added horchata, then we added ice cream. My mom is always coming up with new things,” Pedraza said.
Since 2009 she and her mom, Andrea, a chocolatier who combines old-world techniques with her Mexican heritage, has provided Dallas with creative concoctions, including their signature chocolate high heels.
A few years ago, they combined their housemade ice cream, which uses fresh vanilla beans from Chiapas, Mexico, with conchas, the traditional Mexican sweet bread named for the seashell it resembles, from local bakeries to make ice cream sandwiches.
“They were a big hit for us the past few years,” Pedraza said.
Well, that was then. This is now. "Now" being a time when all the old good stuff that used to work is out the window and reinvention is the name of the game.
“Things were just so low this year, and we saw everyone else doing meal kits. They seemed to be working really well, so we thought about how we could create a kit using our ice cream sandwiches,” Pedraza said.
Pre-ordered meals and kits do, in fact, seem to be working well. They're a win-win. For the producers they offer efficiency; bakers and restaurateurs know exactly how much product to make, eliminating waste. The kits are also great for customers who like the idea of planning ahead and knowing their specific orders are ready and waiting for them.
Last week, when Pedraza posted a photo to their social media sites of a box with their housemade horchata, ice cream, chocolate and bright pink conchas, she wasn't sure what the response would be.
“It was crazy,” she says with a light laugh. “People actually got mad because they sold out so quickly. Who knew a kit would be such a big deal?”
Last week, the box featured conchas from Vera’s Bakery, but Pedraza said they'll switch out vendors each week to help support other local businesses.
There's enough in every box for four concha ice cream sandwiches. There are also two 16-ounce bottles of the from-scratch horchata, one regular and one "dirty," made with a shot of espresso.
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Pedraza says they’ll do these kits through July, but they'll probably try a churro kit in August. Maybe the summer of 2020 won’t be so bad after all.
To order, you have to keep a close eye on CocoAndre’s social media and website. Pedraza said she's planning on releasing the next batch around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Orders are on a first-come, first-served basis.
The actual link to order is a little bit hidden. Here’s a tip: look under the cafe tab on their site. Good luck!
CocoAndré Chocolatier, 508 West 7th St. (Bishop Arts District). Noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.