By Paula Riley
Dorinda’s Chocolates offers handcrafted candy-just in time for Valentine’s Day.
There once was a 12-year-old who made chocolate-covered cherries that friends and neighbors practically stood in line for. The girl, Dorinda Vance, experimented and tried new recipes on anyone who would taste them (which was pretty much everyone). Later, she applied herself to studying online and in classes until eventually she opened her namesake business, Dorinda’s Chocolates. Flash forward a chapter or two…
Today, she offers 36 different truffles, bonbons, cocoa mixes, and other treats in four locations around Reno and Lake Tahoe. Her son and co-owner, Dustin Vance, heads production. Young as he is (a senior at UNR), he’s been years at this too, and possesses the feel for crafting chocolate. “It is an art,” says Dustin. “It’s a skill you learn. It takes a lot of practice.” Practice his crew gets plenty of since mixing, testing, tempering, molding, and hand-dipping of treats can span two days for a single batch.
Describing her evolution from those early years in the family kitchen of her youth to heading her growing family firm, Dorinda smiles. “Chocolate became a passion,” she says, “and then it became a business.” Now, almost a decade after opening her first location, she finally does “feel like a chocolatier.”
The company’s sunlit shop on Reno’s Riverside Drive displays delicacies on gleaming wood counters flanked by cream-colored walls. An outward glance toward Lunsford Park registers outdoor tables filled with hip-looking people lingering over casual and business conversations. Along comes a bicyclist with a dog. Beyond them all is the scattered shade from a scrim of tall trees along a lazy river walk.
With each season comes a change of scenery and a spate of special offerings made from French Valrhona chocolate. Maybe something heart-shaped, or dressed with bows. Fillings made with natural honey and the freshest of fruits. In late spring, chocolate-dipped strawberries guaranteed to please. And because chocolate plays well with others, regularly scheduled tastings of confections paired with wines provided by a local purveyor. Nectar of the gods plus the splendors of chocolate—what’s not to love?
In Reno, find Dorinda’s Chocolates on Riverside Drive, an easy stroll from downtown, and also in the South Creek center; near Lake Tahoe find them at the villages at Northstar and Squaw Valley. The website makes ordering easy, and you’ll also find seasonal chocolate recipes, newsy items including the history of chocolate, and how to store chocolate properly. Happy savoring!
775-432-2024 • dorindaschocolates.com
• 727 Riverside Drive, Suite E and 75 Foothill Road, Reno, NV
• 1960 Squaw Valley Road, Olympic Valley, CA
• 5001 Northstar Drive, Suite 5105, Truckee, CA