Jeanine Stevens wants to showcase the sweet side of Dallas. In 2012, she put on her entrepreneurial hat and founded Dallas by Chocolate Tours, focusing on chocolate-themed businesses with a side of Dallas history.
"Taking people to restaurants and eateries is sort of a legacy," Stevens says. "Growing up in Chicago, my parents would take us to out-of-the-way places to eat. Dallas By Chocolate builds on my background of trying new places to eat, and offers knowledge of city."
Since her launch, Dallas' chocolate scene has enjoyed a boom, with new shops such as Dude, Sweet Chocolate, CocoAndré in Bishop Arts, Kate Weiser Chocolates in Trinity Groves, and Sablon Lounge in Dallas' West Village.
In 2012, California-based See's Candies entered the Dallas-Fort Worth market, expanding its previous holiday popups into year-round stores. And retailers such as Central Market have significantly expanded their selection of fine chocolate bars.
But Stevens favors the small artisanal shops that are not only doing traditional sweets, but items with non-traditional flavors.
"Dude, Sweet Chocolate uses unique ingredients from blue cheese to mushrooms," she says. "CocoAndré uses ingredients like tequila, and was one of the first to buy beans and make their own chocolate bars. Dallas is on the forefront of pushing the envelope."
In addition to chocolate, she offers tours on other themes such as barbecue and tacos. But with Valentine's Day coming, it's all about the chocolate for now, with offerings such as "Have Your Chocolate and Eat It Too," a motorcoach tour on February 11 that stops at destinations such as Kate Weiser, Cheese & Chutney, and Bisous Bisous Patisserie.
Prices range from $43-$125 per person. For reservations, call 972-814-5997 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Food tells a story about the city, and we have so many places to showcase," she says. "We’re ambassadors to show people that this is a great place to visit, live, and taste wonderful things."