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Gourmet Chocolate Doesn't Need to Come from Europe

There is as much art as craft in these rich local confections

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Laurent Vals runs a micro-business producing handcrafted artisan chocolates in the French tradition. A former Rhode Island pastry chef, Laurent began playing around with making a line of artisan chocolates about eight years ago. His experiment was a hit and he began selling his chocolates online and eventually expanded into a collection of about 20 truffles that change from year to year. Thus Laurent Vals Handcrafted Chocolates was born.

Laurent’s chocolates are made in small batches starting with the best ingredients only, many of which are imported from his home country of France, which is most compatible with his own taste. Each recipe is carefully researched and experimented with until perfection is reached. It took Laurent two years to come up with a caramel recipe that he was pleased with. He then hand paints each chocolate for the ultimate experience in luxury indulgence. Take the Passionata: a dark chocolate couverture enhanced with gold leaf and filled with passionfruit infused ganache. Or the Amy: a buttery caramel with sea salt in a dark chocolate shell. Or maybe the Citron is more your style: white chocolate ganache with fresh basil and lemon in a dark chocolate shell. Drooling yet?

High season in the chocolate business is Thanksgiving through Mother’s Day. So right now, in the dog days of summer, Laurent sticks around Little Compton (who wouldn’t?) and focuses mostly on his wholesale business, catering and preparing for his chocolate making and French cuisine classes at Newport Cooks.

Laurent Vals Chocolates is a two-person show and that’s how he’d like to keep it. His plan is to stay small and keep an exceptionally high quality standard.

If you have to get your hands on some of these chocolates, stop into Milk and Honey Bazaar in Tiverton.