Chocolate artisans open downtown shop

Dave Rogers/Staff photoLa Cascade du Chocolat owner Samantha Brown says a formal ribbon cutting ceremony for her State Street shop is taking place soon.

NEWBURYPORT — Chocolate has long run through the veins of Samantha Brown. She went to France to study it and two years ago opened the artisan chocolate boutique La Cascade du Chocolat in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Late last month, Brown and co-owner Thomas Nash opened a second La Cascade du Chocolat, which is French for "the chocolate waterfall," at 61 State St. 

“We’re excited to join the Newburyport community,” Brown said. “We always knew we wanted to bring the chocolate confections we make to Massachusetts and we’re glad we were able to expand here. Newburyport has welcomed us with open arms.”

According to Brown, the business' name was inspired by the famous chocolate waterfall scene in Roald Dahl’s novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

"I was obsessed with Willy Wonka as a child," Brown said. "And when you say it in French, it's fancy." 

Their stores specialize in chocolate bars with inclusions, seasonal bonbons and truffles, and small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate. Vegans or those gluten intolerant or suffering from nut allergies can still find plenty of sweet treats there too, Brown said. 

Brown said when scouting locations for a second shop, she was drawn to Newburyport's walk-ability and its family-friendly downtown. 

"And we just happened to find space," she added. 

La Cascade du Chocolat will likely face stiff competition from Simply Sweet, the Inn Street candy and ice cream store — and Richdale Food Store, just down the block on State Street. Along with its 25-cent hot dogs, Richdale's is known for its penny candy selection. 

Brown said she wasn't concerned about what could be a crowded and saturated market, however, saying there was room in Newburyport for more than one chocolate store. She also pointed out that she and Nash were able to successfully carve a niche in Exeter despite the presence of a well-established chocolate seller there as well. 

She said she can see the same thing happening in Newburyport. 

"What we're doing is extremely different," Brown said. "We make it the true old fashioned way, from scratch." 

According to Brown and Nash, they use more than 20 types of chocolate from across the world and make everything from scratch in their Exeter store's kitchen. 

“We plan on creating chocolate treats that are specific for Newburyport and reflect the flavors of the area. We hope we can work with local businesses, including restaurants and hotels, to bring our take on fine chocolate to the community.”

Brown said the Newburyport location will also feature a large television and a live feed from the Exeter kitchen. 

"So people can see what's going on," Brown said. 

As the seasons change, so will available ingredients and quite likely the tastes of their clientele, according to the owners. 

“In the summer, someone may love a passion fruit infused caramel, but that same person may prefer a combination of maple and bacon in the fall. We’re thrilled to bring these tasting experiences to Newburyport.”

La Cascade du Chocolat will offer its full product line in Newburyport, and offer classes at the chocolate cafe in Exeter.

For more information, visit lcdcnh.com, email contact@lacascadeduchocolat.com, or call 603-340-5059.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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