MADE IN NEVADA: Dorinda's Chocolates

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- A mother went back to school after her four sons were old enough to allow her to continue her education. She loved chocolate, so she took a course on the subject. She had no idea at that time how big her business would become.

Today Dorinda Vance is the Chief Chocolatier at Dorinda's Chocolates.

"This is my favorite. Very favorite piece. It's called Kraken," said Dorinda.

Her kitchen full of workers and her displays inside three regional locations all started with one important evening called the Chocolate, Wine and Rose Festival in 2011. Dorinda took 400 of her best chocolates.

"I was a nobody and even when we went in, it was at the Hyatt Regency and there was all kinds of nationally known chocolatiers. As the night progressed we noticed that a lot of the other people's chocolates that were so pretty were half eaten, still left on the tray, and we didn't see any of ours half eaten," Dorinda said.

Dorinda beat some of the best local and national competition.

"That night we won people's choice award and it was for the sea salt caramels, which is our best seller," said Dorinda.

It was all she needed to know she has something really special. Dorinda says she buys her chocolate from France.

"Valrhona is, we believe in my opinion, the best chocolate in the world," said Dorinda, but admits it's also the most expensive. A 12-piece box of Dorninda's chocolates costs $24.

"We don't have very many people complain about that as soon as they taste the quality," Dorinda said.

She also uses organic raw unfiltered honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup and other natural fresh flavors for her chocolates.

"We make candy, our own lemon peel and use real lemon zest and real lemon juice in those pieces," said Dorinda.

Dorinda's chocolates are made by hand, not a machine. Caramels shaped into squares are dipped in chocolate and a final pinch of salt is put on each piece. All you have to do is look at a customer's reaction after trying one.

The big push now is Easter. Chocolatiers are making chocolate chicks as they break out of their eggs. Dorinda is working with Costco for road shows at the Sparks and Reno locations. They could be there by Easter, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Her goal is to be the best chocolate in the region.


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