MANCHESTER — A local chocolatier has drawn praise from a national organizer for its set of animal-shaped filled chocolates, made without animal products.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals named Divine Treasures in the Manchester Parkade to its list of the top 10 vegan treats for Valentine’s Day.
The business was the only chocolatier to make the list, which mainly features baked goods. It’s also the only business in New England to be named.
Divine Chocolates owner Diane Wagemann chalked up the recognition to word of mouth from loyal customers.
“I have customers who have sent them boxes directly,” she said.
PETA took notice, and now business is even better for Wagemann.
PETA’s “Vegan Sweet Treats” list is not the first major recognition Divine Treasures has gotten. Both the Boston Globe and the New York Times have given positive reviews to the local shop. It has also won several regional awards.
Wagemann inherited the chocolatier gene from her grandmother, who lived in Quebec. She would help her make chocolates for church, and in her adulthood she began tweaking those recipes to suit a vegan lifestyle.
She also focuses on minimally processed ingredients and as many organic ingredients as her budget will allow.
Valentine’s Day is already a busy time for Wagemann, but she said she has seen a small boost since PETA’s list was released last week.
The list includes vegan versions of traditional baked goods, such as rasberry linzer cookies from Timeless Coffee in Oakland, California, cobbler from Detroit Vegan Soul, and chocolate truffle pie from Venerable Bean Bakery in Morgantown, West Virginia.
PETA cited Divine Treasures’ “Divine Kingdom Box,” which contains six animal-shaped chocolates with decadent fillings from caramel to peanut butter to marshmallow.
The store also has other Valentine-specific chocolate options to give to your special someone.
“The amazing thing is that it’s usually our truffles or more elaborate creations that grab people’s attention,” she said. This time, the classic chocolates spoke for themselves, she said.
And for those who love tastes other than chocolate, the store sells non-dairy cheese samplers. It also has gluten-free, dairy-free pizzas and takeout meals.