Chocolat / Quintessential Chocolates, maker of the fine chocolate confectionary process known as Liqueur Praliné (liquid center chocolates), has available a limited quantity of the rare 'Pure Nacional' bean chocolate from Peru – called Fortunato No. 4 -- for sale beginning Monday, February 14.View PDF File
As the only American producer of this European confectionery process for nearly 20 years, Duke was gradually able to expand her business regionally and then nationally. In 2002, she opened a retail store Chocolat, taking advantage of the tourists coming through Fredericksburg and increased interest in fine chocolate.
This month, the company teamed up with the Virginia Wine Board to showcase that state’s fine wines in barrel-shaped chocolates containing wine from six different vineyards and wineries that represent six Virginia wine regions.View PDF File
This is a woman who LOVES to see people enjoy a loving, sensual, breathtaking, one of a kind experience, when they taste her chocolates. Her Quintessential chocolates are simply the best of the best. I can assure you; Lecia Duke has definitely earned the crown of Chocolate Diva. But how did all this evolve? Is there a correlation between chocolate, creative energy, craftsmanship and love? Is there really a difference between chocolates? Oh; dear ones, I assure you …there is!View PDF File
Approaching her 25th year in business this April, Duke has made liquid-center chocolates with over 150 storied beverages including legends like Frangelico, Amaretto, Crown Royal, Crème de Menthe, Hennessy Cognac, various Kentucky Bourbons, Tequila, and Tennessee Whiskey plus wines of the world including Champagne, Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Port. Her specialty is custom-made spirits and wine liquid center chocolates, making this perhaps the only company in the American marketplace with such capability. Her recent appearance at the National Candy Show in Atlantic City stirred enough buzz to attract producers from the Food Network.View PDF File
Her chocolates are arguably a confectioner’s miracle. “Everything is made with love,” says Duke. “This is a happy place to work, and since everything is handmade, there is a personal connection with those who get to enjoy the chocolates. Everything,” she adds, “Has to be beautiful,” a reference to the hands-on process and the original design employed for gift boxes. “I knew that being a architect would be handy someday,” she says laughing, “If everything isn’t beautiful, it doesn’t leave the store.”View PDF File
Food journalist Doc Lawrence, a highly regarded veteran gourmet products critic and former chairman of the Food and Beverage Sections of the Public Relations Society of America previewed Quintessential’s latest chocolates. Mr. Lawrence described the new chocolates as “almost divinely inspired, true culinary art works advancing the quest to find cutting-edge taste thrills that until now have only been in my wildest dreams.” Lawrence, who is also Director of Wine for the International Food and Wine Travel Writer’s Association, added that he has long been a fan of Ms. Duke’s chocolates. “I confess bias in favor of these delights,” Lawrence said, “and I have been to the production headquarters and written about the process and the outstanding product. I can state without qualification that these chocolates are a stand-alone gourmet product in the United States.”View PDF File
The espresso Liquid Praline from Chocolat was divine. The rich luscious chocolate with just the right sweetness had given way to an explosion of intense coffee. Savoring the flavors brought a grin of delight.View PDF File
After apprenticing under a Swiss chocolatier to learn how to make chocolates with liquid centers, Lecia founded Quintessential Chocolates in 1984. Her company became the sole U.S. producer of chocolates made with the fine confectionary process known as the Liquid Moisture Barrier Technique.View PDF File
Duke’s memories spurred her to begin making large-scale chocolates for corporate promotions in the shape of whatever customers wanted: buildings, cars, once even a chocolate LP for the famous Country-western singing family, the Judds. When a client asked her to make Jack Daniels-filled chocolates, Duke apprenticed with a Swiss master chocolatier to learn the technique. The resulting confections, “super-saturated with Jack Daniels,” she remembers were a revelation.View PDF File
Lecia’s specialty – European-style liquid-center chocolates – has been bringing smiles to people’s faces for more than two decades. A former architect and graphic designer, she founded Quintessential Chocolates in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1984, after apprenticing under a Swiss master-chocolatier to learn the almost-lost confectionery art form known as liqueur praline (sugar crust). Now, at Chocolat, you can find chocolates with a range of liquid centers, including premium spirits, wine, and non alcohol flavors like Southern pecan coffee and black cherry nectar.View PDF File
The shop called Chocolat is about as close to chocolate heaven as you can get. Texans should rightfully add the Fredericksburg confectionery to the list of state superlatives.
Duke’s specialty is the spirited liquor, liqueur and wine-filled dark chocolates made in the centuries-old European style. Flavors are neither injected nor are they anything like the syrupy cherry-filled, overly sweet candies. Among the other confections also made fresh each day are non-alcohol chocolates filled with Taste of Old San Antonio coffee, pecan flavored coffee or espresso and fruit nectars.View PDF File
If you think you know what you’re getting into when you bite into a piece of chocolate, a stop a Chocolat might just teach you something. Popping the candy in your mouth, the experience is at first like any other-rich, delicious chocolate slowly coating your taste buds. But bite down, and suddenly, the explosion hits: a sweet crunch of crystallized sugar, followed by a rush of warm liquid-liquor, the flavors combine and the concoction makes its way to your tummy, you realize that chocolate as you know it has changed-for the better.View PDF File
Dinner was a gourmet treat, and you don't want it to end. For dessert you're thinking of serving liqueurs and luscious fruit nectars or perhaps gourmet chocolates. Which shall it be?
If you serve Quintessential Chocolates, you don't have to choose--you can have both. Since 1984, entrepreneur Lecia Duke of Fredericksburg, Texas, has been creating chocolate delicacies that literally burst with luscious liquid flavor inside your mouth.
These are not your average liquid-injected chocolates. Instead, she produces this European style confection that separates the liquid from the chocolate with a delicate sugar crystal moisture barrier. This prevents the chocolate from absorbing any alcohol or liquid and allows the thinnest possible chocolate shell. That means that there's more room for liquid, so you really get enough to let you savor the delicious flavor.