Even as a youth, Perla Rosario dreamed of becoming a chocolatier, maybe someday a chocolate maker. After all, her family owns a cacao farm in the Dominican Republic. Five years ago, she began to train and taught herself the craft. “I learned a lot by trial and error,” she says. Last year, Rosario and her fiancé Leo Baez opened Cacao, a chocolate and nut shop, in Jamaica Plain. Rosario produces beautiful chocolate truffles, bonbons, and barks using Valrhona couvertures, while Baez roasts a broad selection of nuts. The couple recently opened a second location in Newton Highlands, a cozy spot with a mix of warm woods and a counter lined with Rosario’s creations — dark chocolate bonbons filled with raspberry creme or hazelnut ganache, Aztec spicy and peanut butter truffles, chocolate-covered peppermint bars, white chocolate barks with roasted pistachios and cranberries, and more ($17 for 8 pieces). Shelves display ribbon-tied gift boxes for the holidays with assortments (from $20 and up), as well as chocolate bars from artisan makers such as Markham & Fitz from Arizona, Chequessette in Truro on Cape Cod, and Amedei from Tuscany. It’s a worthy destination for a steaming cup of thick, spicy hot chocolate prepared with a blend of high-quality chocolates. You can take home a bag of the mix ($15 for 5 servings). Tea and coffee drinks from single-origin Colombian beans from Brooklyn roaster Devoción are also available. The couple expected to set up a small cafe in the rear of the store when they signed the lease pre-pandemic. Instead, they adapted the space with a counter to display containers of roasted sweet and spicy almonds and nut mixes with bits of chocolate and dried cranberries ($19 a pound). Someday the counter will disappear and you’ll find comfy chairs where you can relax with a cup of Joe and a treat. 23 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-467-4599, cacaonuts.com. The shop offers curbside pick-up and free delivery within 5 miles.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.