We featured the specialty tea shop, The Cultured Cup, in our December issue for its wildly popular chocolate caramel turtles that they could barely keep on the shelf. In fact, shop owner Kyle Stewart told me they sold 5,000-6,000 of the chocolates over the holidays.

Now, the turtles (referred to as “tortugas”) have become a permanent addition to the chocolate case, along with several new French-style chocolates that the Preston Center shop just rolled out Saturday. I stopped by to try some, killing almost an entire afternoon sampling goodies and browsing the gifts and literature (these guys really know their stuff).

Steve Smith with Dallas-based Nib Chocolates, the mastermind behind the tortugas, also engineered the new selection which includes different variations of dark chocolates, incorporating herbs like rosemary and fruits like mandarin or lime. The key, Smith says, is that they enhance the flavor of the chocolate – not overpower it.

For those who aren’t so into dark chocolate, the vanilla bean chocolate (61 percent cacao) is so smooth it may trick you into thinking you’re eating milk chocolate.

If you’re looking for a Valentines Day treat that’s a (big) step up from the usual box of chocolates (and local!), see what’s new at The Cultured Cup where you can also find the perfect tea or coffee to pair with it.

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