When I first discovered Dude, Sweet Chocolate, it was in an underground-insider-only kind of way. An otherwise standard business women’s networking event morphed into a magical chocolate journey with the arrival of a chef hustling to get the word out about her sweet new venture.

One bite of a dark chocolate truffle and I had two thoughts:
1. This longtime self-avowed chocolate hater didn’t really hate chocolate—apparently, I only hated eating inferior overly-milky chocolate.
2. Dude. This was some sweet dark chocolate.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

Living in Plano, getting my Dude, Sweet Chocolate fix has been a bit more challenging. Who wants to go south of 635 if it’s not absolutely necessary? You can imagine my excitement when, strolling through downtown Plano during Steinfest, I spotted the following window sign:

Just 18 days later (but who’s counting?), I passed the future home of Dude, Sweet Chocolate on my way home from yet another networking event and spotted an open door.

Dude. I stopped in immediately to find the crew celebrating the store’s soft opening. I bought a box of Crack in the Box and snagged a photo opp. with my new old friends.

Most days, co-founder Redding May is manning the shop. You’ll want to stop in to say hi, try some of the product and stock up on what will surely be your new favorite chocolates. While you’re there, ask Redding to share stories about the history of Dude, Sweet Chocolate from its early days as custom client gift purveyor to its current four powerhouse locations around the metroplex.

If you’re still on the fence, here are five reasons why you need to put a visit to Dude, Sweet Chocolate on your Must Try list:

1. Chocolate salami
Ok, it’s not really salami—it just looks like it. According to Redding, Chef Clapner wasn’t happy with the results while testing a recipe for marzipan stuffed dates. She reworked the ingredients, adding her special chocolate formula (of course) along with a few other items, and created a roll that strangely resembles a salami log. The name stuck. Redding says that chocolate salami is one of Plano’s hottest selling items.

2. Samples
Don’t know what Fungus Amongus Soft Butter Toffee tastes like? Worried about the heat level in the Red Hot Thinnamon bar? Ask for a sample. Redding or another staff member will give you a try before you buy. Just be prepared. You’ll want to buy everything you try, so be wise in how much you choose to sample!

3. C3P0 marshmallows
This is probably the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. It’s like a Hostess sno-ball outgrew its awkward teenage years to top People magazine’s Most Beautiful list. It’s Just. That. Amazing.

4. Allergen menu
When my best friend was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, my life changed as well. Dining, cooking and grocery shopping were much more difficult affairs. So I particularly appreciate stores that know what’s in their products and can easily help you know as well. Ask Dude, Sweet Chocolate for an allergen menu and they’ll quickly provide it. Vegan, gluten free—it’s all there, nicely detailed with the information you need. When I saw that Break Up Potion Chocolate Sauce was vegan, I knew I had to have it. I can’t wait to make some type of decadent dessert to share with my dairy-free friend. Chocolate bourbon pecan pie, perhaps?

5. Swag and More
Can you say no to a hip chocolate-themed T-shirt? I can’t. Plus, I didn’t mention that you can get chocolate-infused nearly-everything. Seriously. Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tea, granola…the list goes on.

Photography by Shannah Hayley

Shannah Hayley

Shannah Hayley is a communicator and cross-culture explorer, trying to keep her crazy life in balance. Shannah is also the Director of Marketing and Community Engagement for the City of Plano, the 70th...