A date has been announced for one of the most exciting openings at the Trinity Groves complex in West Dallas: Kate Weiser Chocolate, the eponymous store from renowned chocolate maker Kate Weiser, will open August 19.
Merino departed her post as pastry chef at Oak on August 1 and began working with Weiser on August 4. For the two women, it's a fortunate short-term arrangement where everyone wins.
For Merino, it will be practical experience. She's established an online macaron store called Sucre Sucre by Lucia, and she'll eventually start selling at farmers markets and going to coffee shops.
"Eventually, I would like to open my own French-style bakery with breads and baked goods like tarts, using fresh, good ingredients," Merino says. "Working with Kate is a valuable opportunity to witness the opening of a store."
For Weiser, it's the assistance of someone with deep professional experience to fill in a short but valued gap.
"Isn't it amazing that she was able to join me?" Weiser says. "I was looking for someone to help during the opening crunch, and Lucia was willing to join on." Also helping with the ramp-up is Rose de la Rosa, a former pastry assistant from The Joule.
Weiser, who appeared on the Food Network show Sugar Dome in 2012, first wowed Dallas while making chocolates for Chocolate Secrets. Her Trinity Groves store was first announced more than a year ago, but kept getting bumped back; in the interim, she's done numerous pop-ups. At Trinity Groves, her shop is on the northwest corner, a few doors down from the newly opened Potato Flats.
She'll offer her signature chocolates in flavors such as Grand Marnier, orange butterscotch, sweet potato, caramelized pineapple and buttery popcorn. Other confections include chocolate bars, caramels, chocolate lollipops, macarons and an exotic sweet called bacon toffee.
She'll also do espresso drinks and ice cream, in flavors such as hazelnut with passion fruit and candied hazelnuts, extra-dark chocolate with orange flower and cocoa nib streusel, and Ascension coffee with crushed biscotti and chocolate espresso bean.
The staff has been busy creating an inventory for opening day. Construction on the shop is almost complete, with a few finishing touches still to come, including the application of a large mural with Weiser's face spattered with chocolate. New equipment includes a pair of Perfect Equipements tempering machines, an acquisition that has Weiser nearly giddy.
"I'll still be doing some tempering by hand," she says, pointing to a long marble table in the open kitchen where a chocolate-coated ladle sits propped on top of a bowl. "But this! What used to take me 10 hours now takes three hours."