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Chocolate Therapy puts a healthy twist on sweetness in Framingham

Posted by John Swinconeck  May 17, 2013 03:13 PM

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John Swinconeck for Your Town
Chocolate Therapy owner Pamela Griffin shows off a tray of truffles at her Framingham shop.

FRAMINGHAM — For many with an incurable sweet tooth, chocolate is a passion that is second only to breathing in terms of importance, and an Achilles' heel for calorie counters. Chocolate Therapy owners David and Pamela Griffin, however, said they are infusing healthful, therapeutic ingredients into the sumptuous sweet at their new Framingham location.

"It's not your average chocolate," Pamela Griffin said. "We wanted something that was good for you, that would taste good, and that you wouldn't feel guilty eating."

The husband and wife team, who live in Framingham, opened the first Chocolate Therapy in Dedham in 2011. The Griffins opened the Framingham shop at 50 Worcester Rd., near Legal Seafood, in December 2012.

Pamela said she was a regional director at Starbucks for 17 years, while her husband has a background in manufacturing engineering.

"He started to say, 'let's do something on our own.' He looked into gyms and a place that sold tools. Then he came home one day and started talking about chocolate," Pamela said.

So David took a course at the Cambridge Culinary Institute and started making his own chocolates, with the goal of creating gourmet chocolates that were better than many currently on the market.

"I wanted to create a good chocolate experience," David said. "The ganache and the shell should melt at the same time. Some of the flavor ought to be released immediately. A lot of chocolate I've tried just didn't get it."

"We've tasted everything, but we wanted a different experience, which is where all the crazy flavors come from," Pamela said.

Take, for example, the Chocolate Therapy truffle called "Refresh," which contains milk chocolate, fresh ginger, and ginseng. Both ginger and ginseng energizes the body, according to the Griffins. For those who like a little extra kick, there's "The Cure," a truffle made with bay leaf, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. According to the Griffins, the bay leaf works as an astringent and digestive aid, among other benefits, and the cayenne is good for blood circulation, headaches, and arthritis.

Dark chocolate with sea salt caramel is the best seller, according to the Griffins.

"We do use a lot of therapeutic ingredients," said Chocolate Therapy chocolatier Richard Gemme, of Millbury. "The dark chocolate, especially, but we do use things like cayenne, Tahitian vanilla. We use cascade hops that are used in beer production that goes really well with the raw honey in one of our truffles. I've never heard of anyone doing that before."

Both honey and hops are a source of antioxidants, according to the Griffins, as well as the dark Belgium chocolate used in many of Chocolate Therapy's creations. And for Gemme, good chocolate "is like magic."

"It brings you back to your childhood–just that first little taste," Gemme said.

Chocolates are made on-site at the Framingham shop are also sold at the Dedham location and at Roche Bros. grocery stores in Wellesley and Sudbury.

The new site has areas for children's parties, corporate team-building events, ladies nights, and other activities where patrons can make their own confectionary creation. The Griffins said they will start holding chocolate-making classes Wednesday nights in June. The shop also sells coffee and iced tea products.

Nelson Bobadilla, who works nearby, said he has already become a regular and comes in regularly for coffee, and the occasional macaroon."All the goodies are delicious," he said "I've been eating everything."

The Griffins' goal is to continue to expand their business, and they hope to open another new shop on the North or South Shore next year.

"The intent is not to stand behind the counter and make money. The intent is to grow," David said. "[Chocolate] is a $7 billion industry. If we can carve out a small piece of that, we'll be very happy."

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