Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate as Art ~ Dancing Lion

   Have you ever tasted something so divine that it moved you to tears?  That is precisely what happened to me upon my first sip of Dancing Lion's drinking chocolate. The flavor was exquisitely beautiful:  delicately nuanced, yet rich, bold, and intoxicating. I knew that not only did the person who created this possess great technical skill with chocolate, but had a deep, passionate love affair with it.  I was enraptured.

My partner, George, first learned of Dancing Lion while watching a feature on a local television show.  Knowing how much I adore chocolate, he excitedly told me about it, and we planned to go the following weekend.  Prior to our visit, I explored their website, and knew it was going to be a very special experience after reading this about owner/chocolatier, Richard Tango-Lowy:

Cacao Mural
I first encountered the True Soul of chocolate in 1995. For fifteen years I have sought her subtle nuances, studied her moods, struggled to understand her complex temper. She is a most difficult mistress; coquettish and proud, quick to anger, open only to the most patient of overtures.
I’ve learned to prepare her in the ancient ways of the Maya and in the gleaming kitchens of the finest Parisian chocolatiers. I have studied her at ecole Chocolat in Vancouver and at the prestigious Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona in the Rhone Valley of France. I am proud to count among my friends some of the finest chocolatiers from Montreal to Melbourne to Guatemala.
Chocolate is my passion. I will never master her–who can master one so willful and tempestuous? But I will continue to woo her and to craft a small bit of her soul into each truffle and bonbon I create.
For chocolate is art. And as art she is magnificent.
Richard Tango-Lowy, January 2010 

The shop was very busy during our first visit, as many others who had seen the TV special were also there.  The decor was lovely - earthy, warm, and relaxing.  A bit unsure where to start, we finally decided to order the drinking chocolate with blood orange (in a "frothy bowl")...and the swooning began.  We also purchased several truffles which we savored at length later that day.  The woman working the counter, Kathy, was very kind and knowledgeable, helping us with our purchase and talking about Rich's background.  I was hoping to tell Rich how much I loved his chocolate, but we only got a brief glimpse of him that day.

The shop was more quiet during our second visit, so George and I got the chance to speak with Rich at length.  He talked about each of the truffles and bars as though they were beloved children.  From his meticulous selection of his cacao suppliers, to how he gently coaxes the exquisite, complex ingredients to blend and mingle into one perfect truffle, bar, or drinking chocolate, his passion is beautifully manifested in his art.  I told him about my "teary-eyed" experience, and he smiled and said, "Our tagline was almost 'chocolate that makes you cry'."  Try it, and I bet you'll agree.  And don't miss the croissants; they're the best I've tasted outside of Paris.

I can't believe how fortunate we are to have such a place less than an hour from home!
If you live in New England (or plan to visit), I can't implore you enough to visit Dancing Lion.  If you're not closeby, call them...they may just be able to deliver some heaven to your door.
Find their website here, and watch the TV feature here.
Rich, preparing our "frothy bowls" of drinking chocolate
Be sure to speak with Kathy while you're there!

This beauty came home with me :)
My Valentine's Day box from George....he's so good to me!
this card was inside...beautifully romantic!

each piece is to be admired and savored