News You Can Taste

By staff May 14, 2007

Great new chocolates and a panini to remember.


By Judi Gallagher


Breaking food news: New chocolates and an awesome panini just hit Sarasota! Yup, you guessed it—all the food groups one ever needs: panini, coffee and chocolate. My summer intern and I dropped in for a quick panini at the Sarasota Olive Oil Company in the Rosemary District. My pick is the Sorrento: proscuitto, arugula, tomato, pesto and mozzarella. Worth the somewhat bored attitude of the counter people, the sandwich is just the right amount of gooiness blended with saltiness.

Lynne and Deni, the  chocolate  divas at Divina Jeanne. 


Just around the corner, we spotted Divinia Jeanne’s Chocolate Heaven. The intern leapt out of the car in a single bound and took one—make that 12—chocolates for the team. This adorable little chocolate boutique is not just about candy, as I was thrilled to find out. The brand-new espresso chocolate chip cookies were scrumptious, and I just had to buy some carrot/applesauce chocolate cakes with cream cheese fudge frosting for my other chocoholic friend, Virginia. All I needed was a big glass of cold milk. The chocolate-covered Kona coffee beans will no doubt put them on the map. Owners Deni and Lynne are as cute as their little store, eager to please and take requests. I have no doubt this little corner of Sarasota off Central will truly be a bit of heaven.


Wish I could say the same thing for Blasé Café in Siesta Village, but honestly, blasé is about all I can muster. When I met some friends there last week, the setting and the company were both wonderful. We had an outdoor table in sight of the sun sinking over the Gulf just a block away and enjoyed drinks while we ordered. But the food did not live up to our expectations.

Marsha Fottler sips a delicious chocolate martini at Blase Cafe.


While I was happy to see that you can order ½ size salads, the salad itself was disappointing. Mozzarella is soft and light when freshly prepared. This was tough and heavy—better used on a grater for the topping of a pizza. My Gorgonzola shrimp appetizer was tolerable, but my friend (a former food critic) said she would never again order the crab cakes. I used to like the Blasé Café years ago, but often with time blasé is what a place can become. A shame as the outside patio can be fun. Fortunately for all of us, one of our friends suggested we end dinner with the chocolate martini, which certainly was delicious. So maybe that’s the deal—eat dinner elsewhere and stop by for a chocolate martini for dessert.


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