Dean’s Sweets’ Chocolates from Portland

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Portland seems to me one of the quintessential New England seacoast towns. With its long streets of red masonry buildings and its quirky alleyways, coffeeshops, and squares, it’s a fine place to spend a wandering day.

It makes sense to me that one of the best local New England chocolates I’ve tried should make its home here.

Dean’s Sweets provided us with a box of four plain dark chocolate truffles and no fanfare. Due to technical difficulties, I didn’t manage to photograph them, so you will have to take my word that they were lovely, with an appealing luster and a good color, presented in an unpretentious little translucent plastic box with a ribbon tie.

After the last two reviews I’ve done, I was starting to wonder if maybe my standards for good chocolate were unrealistically high. But one deep breath of the aroma rising from the Dean’s box renewed my faith in my judgment. It was rich, complex, and absolutely redolent of chocolate.

Nor did the truffles themselves disappoint. Where too often chocolate proclaiming itself top-tier is waxy, overly crisp, fruity, or shallow, this was the real experience. The Dean’s truffles are full of buttery, rich ganache, nuanced in flavor, with spicy vanilla notes.

Apparently, Dean’s believes that it’s better to put a top-quality chocolate inside the wrapper than to splash marketing superlatives all over the outside. And I have to say, I agree completely.

The box of four didn’t actually last long enough for me to offer any to my roommate. I felt vindicated–and very, very satisfied.

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About Elizabeth Bear

I tell lies to strangers for money.