Saturday, October 6, 2012

A trip to heaven: Divine Treasures

I had a free afternoon yesterday and decided to go on a spur of the moment roadtrip to Divine Treasures, a vegan chocolatier based in Manchester, CT.  I stopped for lunch along the way at Fire and Spice, and my journey continued to the northeast foothills amidst a sunny blue sky and a blaze or red, orange and yellow leaves.

I arrived eager with anticipation.  My last visit was back in February for Valentine's Day, and I returned  yesterday looking forward to sampling some new collaborative creations made with baked goods supplied by Shayna B's( & The Pickle), a gluten-free vegan baker based in Ashford, CT.

Everything I had heard was true:  the best vegan gluten-free desserts I've ever eaten.  No graininess.  No heaviness.  No "healthy" taste that makes me think, "why bother?"  If it's a dessert, it should taste like a dessert.  And by that I mean SPECIAL.

chocolate chip blondies from shayna b's

The cookies and cakes I sampled were sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the flavors tasted natural.  That's EXACTLY what I want in a dessert.  Make my tastebuds smile, and leave me wanting more!!  These desserts delivered exactly that.  And dare I say, I think they even blow away the famous Babycakes that has foodies all abuzz in NYC.  They've got nothing on Shana B's.

These Biscotti Bites are brilliant!

And now, onto the chocolates.  Everything I just said about the baked goods can also be said about Divine Treasures' chocolates.  They're rich, dark, creamy, and oh so satisfying.  The flavor combinations are creative, and the presentations are beautiful.  There are good things coming from this chocolatier, and the fact that the chocolates are vegan makes them even better.  The average customer would never know though.

Owner Diane Wagemann says that the majority of her customers are not vegan and don't realize her chocolates are made without any animal products.  They just buy them because they're outstanding.  She also uses agave and rice syrup for her sweeteners, and her products are gluten-free as well.

While I was there, several regulars came in for their weekly fix, while others came in to try something different.  You can't find beautiful creations like this at Munson's or Russell Stover (where frankly, as far as I remember, everything tastes like wax).  No, these are unique, hand-crafted, and absolutely delicious.

Here's what I remember sampling (it's all become a chocolate blur to me now, but I'll do my best...):

Chocolate Biscotti Bites
Bonne Shanse Minou ("Lucky Cat" chocolate dipped brownie)
Heath Bar Crunch
Peanut Butter Patty Melt
Prince of India Truffle (spiced with garam masala)
Buddha Bite (a little Buddha man with spicy coconut cream tummy)
Chocolate Covered Chocolate Coconut Bomb (made with Shayna B's cake enrobed in dark chocolate)

If you're ever passing through the area - or like me, will go out of the way for good vegan chocolates - do make a point of stopping by the shop.  Have some vegan soft serve while you're there (I can't stress enough how much better this is than standard Tofutti fare), then fill a box of truffles and chocolates to savor for days to come.  Or at least for the ride home!

smiling buddha with a tummy filled with coconut creme and love

named for the very awesome animal activist, Annie Hornish

a perfect seasonal treat

a very lucky kitty made with brownies and love


Sherry said...

As you've so aptly described .....they deserve every bit of press that comes their way. Two of the most masterful creators of delectable, ethically conscious, divinely inspired treats. Something for everyone whether you like your treats simple or more richly textured with a variety of flavors in glorious combination.

Mary Lawrence said...

It's so true! Thank you for your comment, Sherry!