Dude Sweet Chocolate's Tobacco and Chocolate Mix Goes Almost Prime Time

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Dude Sweet Chocolate's Katherine Clapner is busy making doughnuts this afternoon to feed 100 people at tonight's Bishop Arts Big Table fundraiser in Oak Cliff, but her biggest worry has nothing to do with pastry.

"I'm scared to death," Clapner says of the impending debut of a Cooking Channel show featuring her signature Parique chocolates. "I haven't even seen it myself."

Clapner will be one of four artisanal food producers appearing on an episode of FoodCrafters focusing on spirits. The episode airs tonight at 10:30 p.m., and will be rebroadcast throughout the week. (Clapner doesn't have cable, so she won't be able to watch it.)

According to Clapner, the Cooking Channel crew spent nine hours in her shop, recording footage for the segment.

"It was a hoo-hah," she says. "That's the only way to describe it."

Clapner's cognac tobacco chocolates -- which will be featured alongside bourbon balls from Kentucky and whiskey from Colorado -- were inspired by produce distributor Tom Spicer, who introduced Clapner to the fermented tobacco from Louisiana. Clapner describes the tobacco, which is typically used in liqueur-making, as smelling "like dry fruit and tamarind. It comes in these wonderful pulpy leaves."

Clapner has a small stash of the tobacco in her cooler, but is planning a replenishing trip to St. James Parish in January.

"It's the last place they're doing it," she says. "This guy doesn't even have a ZIP code."

Clapner emphasizes she never would have discovered fermented tobacco if Spicer hadn't shared it with her.

"Tom Spicer totally deserves all the credit for putting things in front of me," she says. "I sound like a fricking Stepford Wife, but I feel like such a lucky girl in that respect."

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