Chocolate courage

I got a call on Friday - which ended up in a fine conversation - from a person upset that we chose Dean's Sweets as an editors' pick in our The Best of Portland issue this week.

The caller in question thought there were other, better, chocolatiers in Portland. Since chocolate is such a deeply personal choice, I'm happy to admit others have differing opinions. (We also found in our poll that Phoenix readers love the Bar of Chocolate Cafe.)

This particular caller, though, was quite passionate about his chocolate, and when I pressed him to help out a fellow chocoholic by telling me the names of the chocolatiers he likes, he went so far as to offer to bring over some samples. Not one to turn down free chocolate - especially delivered to my desk - I agreed.

Over he came - his name's Jeff - carrying six chocolate delights from Sweet Marguerites, which, I'm told, are for sale at Whole Foods and at the Cheese Iron in Scarborough, among other places. Turns out Marguerite is his mom, and he's passionate about the family biz. (As he should be - the samples he brought were really tasty, and definitely well-crafted.)

I very much appreciate Jeff's visit, and while I stand by the choice of Dean's Sweets as my new favorite drug dealer (of chocolate), I will agree with (and, for the record, have never disagreed with) his general point - there are tons of chocolate options in town (dare we call Portland a "chocolate city"? maybe that's not such a good idea). And chocoholics are nothing if not persnickety about what they like (Sweet Marguerites' big seller, Fleur de Sel, a chocolate-caramel concoction topped with sea salt, is not my thing because I so strongly dislike salt).

And, I'm happy to say, to each his or her own. Try Marguerites, Nutmeg, Haven's, try anything else you find. See what you like. But in your search, don't skip Dean's.

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