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Chocolate, drinks & desserts tempt

QUENTIN ROUX
Q@MISUNTIMES.COM
Confectionary chef Myriam Kriel makes the chocolate and does the designs for the chocolate strawberries.
  • The owners, who now live on Marco, established the boutique after successfully launching their first one on Miami Beach

Search for quotes about chocolate, and you might find that author Jane Seabrook puts it best.

“If there’s no chocolate in heaven, I’m not going,” she writes in one of her “Furry Logic” series of books.

The quote couldn’t be more apt, even before you step inside Dolce Mare Chocolate Boutique & Dessert Lounge at Marco Walk.

Look through the windows and all you see are the brightly lit cabinets packed with every kind of chocolate product you could imagine.

Assorted truffles are a big drawcard at the chocolate boutique.

And, if confectionary chef Myriam Kriel is working her magic at one of the melting and mixing kettles in the open kitchen, the aroma wafting out the door is indeed little short of heaven.

Some of the select gelato desserts are imported from Italy.

Think chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate bars, hand-paddled fudge, brittles, caramel corns, caramel apples, coconut clusters, assorted bark flavors, truffles as well as gelato desserts – and you begin to get the picture.

But wait, as the persuasive ad technique goes, there’s more.

Lounge

Deeper into the boutique is a lounge seating 25 people.

A Ruffino Chianti is one of the suggestions to pair with any of the chocolate items from Dolce Mare.

Here, patrons can enjoy being served champagne, wine and beer by the glass or bottle as well as chocolates and desserts from the boutique.

“It’s a sort of speakeasy,” says owner Steven Tabeek who, along with his wife, Gabriella Gaggiano, basically made a clone of a similar boutique and dessert lounge they established in 2014 on Miami’s South Beach. They now live on Marco.

For the Sun Times series on drinks and desserts, manager Michelle Holt and Kriel -- who is also production manager -- decided to showcase chocolate truffles (a 12-pack goes for just under $20), chocolate-covered strawberries and a gelato limoncello trio (imported from Italy).

A Perrier Jouet Rose Champagne goes well with many of the desserts on offer.

For the drinks, and consistent with the general opinion of sommeliers that sweeter drinks indeed pair well with chocolate, Holt said look no further than Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2012, as well as Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose Champagne, and also a fresh cup of cappuccino with raw brown sugar as an optional sweetener.

Proof of the pudding was more than evident when Missouri visitor Maggie Munsterman (in town with her family on vacation) agreed to model a truffle for the photo shoot.

A classic coffee, in this case Cappucino, is a good accompaniment, particularly with the chocolate strawberries.

Manager Holt “comped” her with the truffle, which she declared was delicious.

Missouri visitor Maggie Munsterman displays one of the fine truffles on offer at Dolce Mare Chocolate Boutique and Lounge.

Thereafter, she and her mom and sister promptly ordered a selection and sat down in the boutique to savor them slowly ... the way it should, of course, be done.

If you go

What: Dolce Mare Chocolate Boutique & Dessert Lounge

Products: Everything chocolate, plus gelatos and coffee selections. In the lounge: assorted wines and desserts/chocolates from the boutique. Gift baskets available.

Hours: Monday to Friday noon-midnight; Saturday 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-midnight. Closing can be earlier, but never before 11 p.m. Call ahead if necessary.

Services: The lounge is available for private parties and corporate get-togethers

Specials: Summer fudge; buy 2 slices, get a third free

Telephone: 389-9000

Website: dolcemaresweets.com