You’ll have to do some driving, but it’ll be worth it. Diane Pinder, who owns Donna Toscana Artisan Chocolate up in Cranford has just redecorated her shop and added a Chocolate Lounge, so you can sit down and enjoy your treats on the spot. What could be better?
I met Diane at the Chocolate Show in New York last November, then saw her again this spring at Princeton’s Taste of the Nation. I especially love her dark chocolate bars topped with pistachio brittle and fleur de sel, although she is better known for her sophisticated truffles and filled chocolates with flavors like drunken plum, champagne, balsalmic, etc. And I just spied a new one on her website called the Pharoah Truffle, a pyramid shape filled with cinnamon, coffee, and clove.At the lounge you can enjoy chocolate fondue, cakes, gelato, and of course individual chocolates from the display case. The beverages sound wonderful, too; they include hot chocolate, iced chocolate, and Italian sodas made from sparkling water flavored with Torani syrups, such as Caffee Nikko, with mandarin orange and crème de cacao. (The shop keeps evening hours, and you can also BYO.)
The Chocolate Lounge also features Craig Shelton’s coffee (Shelton won a James Beard Award while at the Ryland Inn). The two are currently working on a line of chocolates featuring Shelton’s coffee and Pinder’s chocolate. With those, you’ll be able to stay up all night eating chocolate!