The Dark (And Semi-Sweet) Side

Dude!Sweet! chocolates is playful from its name on down. The local, independent chocolatier owned and operated by pastry chef Karen Clapner, recently hit the scene with fun flavors like Curried Banana (yellow curry, banana, African dark chocolate), Black and Blue (Guiness and black currant) and Roasted Beet (Colombian 66 percent, olive oil) and PB&J (Fleur de Sel, peanut, grape). Two tastings are set for this weekend.

Clapner has trained worldwide, with stops at The Savoy in London, and Italy's Hotel Splendido before going all Texan at Central Market and Stephan Pyles. And it shows in her craft. Although she uses local ingredients when possible, like dairy from Plano's Lucky Layla Farms, she combines them with chocolate from Colombia, Venezuela and Africa and exotic ingredients like curry, paprika, bee pollen and Thai ginger to create upscale chocolates sold in boxed sampler collections priced from $12-$28.

Dude! Sweet hosts two tasting opportunities this week, including a stop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Empire Baking Co. and a 1 to 3 p.m. tasting at Scardello Artisan Cheese on Saturday.

But we totally understand if you can't wait that long to try a Roasted Beet chocolate. We can hardly resist, ourselves. Luckily, adventuresome choco-holics are currently able to buy a box at Bolsa, Empire Baking Company, Scardello's or Flavors from Afar.

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