What began seven years ago as two friends “playing with chocolate” on their lunch hour has resulted in Divinia Jeanne’s Chocolate Heaven, a sweet little store in Sarasota’s Citrus Square that was recently selected as Whole Foods’ local chocolatier for its 16 stores in Florida. Co-owners Deni Dreazen and Lynne Epstein create everything from milk chocolate dolphins coated in goddess dust to peppermint bark to hand-painted bonbons.
During holiday season last year, the pair produced and shipped two tons of hand-made chocolates, including 4,000 bonbons.
“Chocolate is finicky and temperamental,” says Epstein. “The ultimate goal in tempering chocolate is for it to have that—snap—when you break it.”
As the friends gear up for Valentine’s Day (get your dark chocolate and raspberry flavors early), they’re also shipping to England, Israel, Japan, Ireland and Canada. The long and cold hours don’t bother them.
“Somebody once told me a long time ago, whether you’re selling something or making something to sell, always send it out with love. When I’m standing and mixing chocolates, I love it a lot and I think it shows,” says Dreazen.