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BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY

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Sometimes putting the cart before the horse can be a dangerous thing. But that wasn't the case with Dagsy Contreres, who had a dream and decided to follow it – forget traditional business planning. True, she opened D Chocolat Boutique before she really knew what she was doing, but she really is doing quite well now that it's open.

D Chocolat Boutique does not turn out perfectly artful chocolates – yet. Contreres will even admit that there is still much to learn before she has the store the way she wants it, but she vows to continue her education until she gets every last thing right. When I first visited, she cheerfully admitted to not quite knowing how best to make her chocolate-covered peanuts – they are not as sleek as the European counterparts she imports. In all fairness, her version – though homey in look and taste, like a dessert whipped up for a family get-together – is delicious and one of her best sellers, even if they're not the beauty queen of the shop. But she felt sure that the class she was attending the next weekend would strengthen her skills.

Well, she's a fast learner, because since the extra tutelage, Contreres HAS improved her skills. She now makes her own truffles and other decorative gift chocolates for parties and weddings. And her skills from her previous profession in visual merchandising have helped her create some very feminine-looking baskets of goodies. To supplement what she doesn't know yet, she sells finely crafted European chocolates and clusters, all fabulously indulgent.

With great passion and grace, she is well on her way to realizing her dream to be a creative chocolatier. I think we're going to see great things at D Chocolat Boutique in the future. In the meantime, we'll keep nibbling that chocolate-covered cart.

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