The Manchester Parkade is Like a Box of Chocolates
Divine Treasures, Manchester
June 9, 2012
Let’s be honest here – The sprawling Manchester Parkade is a mess. Not just because some of it is being torn down, but also because it is a jumble of some seriously crappy stores mixed in with a few gems. Divine Treasures is, of course, one of those gems.
Unfortunately, it’s right next to a tobacco shop and believe it or not, the tobacco smell actually bleeds into the chocolate shop. I would think when they are making the chocolates, that’s not the case. There’s also a Christian bookstore here called “Bibles and Books” which I have a semantic problem with.
A bible is a book and in fact, “bible” pretty much means “book” so their shop name is pretty silly. I should also mention a consignment shop a few doors down from the chocolate shop sells a TON of baby/kids’ clothes and stuff for great prices – and it all looked perfectly fine to us. (We were shopping for a slide for Calvin… to no avail.)
But let’s get back to the chocolate. Divine Treasures is a unique shop that specializes in, ahem, “healthy” treats. But don’t let that deter you…
For the health-conscious and eco-friendly chocoholic, Divine Treasures offers a wide variety of delectable treats using organic Belgian chocolate and the finest vegan, gluten-free ingredients. Owner Diane Blanchette-Wagemann uses recipes and traditions learned from her grandmother to create handcrafted candies with a healthful spin. Divine Treasures was the recipient of the 2011 Customer Satisfaction Award for Excellence in Customer Care, presented by Talk of the Town News, Customer Care News and Celebration Media.
Also, don’t let that means-nothing award dissuade you either. This place rocks and deserves better awards. We entered as another customer was finishing up. She told us to buy the sugar free chocolates and we basically laughed in her face. But again, I must note that “Divine Treasures is committed to creating one-of-a-kind, hand-made chocolates using organic, local ingredients that are free of refined sweeteners, animal products and gluten.” They cater to the discriminating tastes of all chocolate aficionados including those who are vegan, diabetic, and gluten-free. Not your typical chocolate shop.
I can’t vouch for the sugar free treats, but the array of them was impressive. The array of sugar-full varieties was even more impressive. And they are beautiful – each different variety has its own shape and design and an often creative name.
I chose four. Hoang chose four. The coolest looking one, the geodesic Ginger Explosion, was unfortunately full of ginger. Sorry, but that sounds gross to me.
What didn’t sound gross were my four: Raizin’ de Nut, Chambord de France truffle, 10 Million smooches and some coffee one I forget the name of. Hoang had the Almond toffee crunch, the Peppermint Patsy, Hot & smokey caramel and a caramel cashew with salt.
The 10 Million Smooches (crunchy all-natural peanut butter base, caramel topping surrounded by dark chocolate) was ridiculously good. Hoang felt there was too much salt on her salted caramel and too much smoke in her smoky candy, but those were minor quibbles with what are clearly high quality chocolates.
A lot of care and time goes into making these things. You’ll be well served taking the time and care to find this little shop in the middle of an ugly shopping parkade in Manchester. Even the New York Times found it and had glowing things to say.
2015 Update: I went to a small shop in Old Lyme called the Chocolate Shell. The “fresh” chocolates they sell there are from Divine Treasures, but on the day I went (dead of winter), the chocolates just didn’t seem all that fresh. I highly recommend you get your Divine Chocolates from Manchester.