Good and Local: Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier
Delicious, homemade chocolate is right around the corner.
When life gave Danielle Verzone lemons, she didn't make lemonade, but chose something even sweeter.
“I began my chocolate journey about three years ago,” she says, “after being laid off from my corporate soul-sucking job of 17 years. A lifelong love of food and cooking drove me to pursue my passion for my next career move. I enrolled in a professional chocolatier class immediately after my job ended and loved it.”
Danielle had soon amassed enough expertise to start her own business, Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier, a purveyor of fine, homemade treats that can be found on the Web, or, each Thursday, at the Falmouth Farmers' Market.
The transition from corporate soul-sucked employee to chocolatier wasn't easy. “It terrified me initially as it involves a bit more chemistry than I had ever imagined,” Danielle says. “I think, not unlike myself when I began, most do not realize the difficulty and the time that it takes to make a properly tempered bonbon. The tempering process can be quite frustrating in the beginning and very time consuming.”
But the hurdles she's had to face have made Danielle's eventual chocolate mastery even more rewarding. “It challenges me and allows me to be very creative with flavor profiles,” she says.
As much care goes into creating Danielle's unique chocolates as went into choosing her business' unique name. “Sirenetta translates to Siren or Mermaid in Italian,” she says. “I wanted my name to reflect a seaside location as well as the lure of the siren's call for chocolate. The siren's call seduces sailors not unlike the seductive lure of chocolate. Many of my flavors (basil, limoncello, rosemary) reflect my heritage, which is Italian, so an Italian mermaid seemed appropriate!”
Danielle also makes an effort to use ingredients from closer to home in her recipes. “I try to incorporate local, seasonal products whenever possible,” she says. “One of my top sellers is the Falmouth sea salt caramel which uses locally harvested sea salt as well as honey from E & T farms in West Barnstable. For fall I will use local cranberries steeped in Plymouth Vineyards Cranberry wine.”
Danielle's experimentation with her inventory keeps her busy, and her friends happy. “I tend to be my own judge and adviser, but rely on friends and family for quite a bit of taste testing,” she says. “They are very happy to assist!”
Danielle makes sure to keep her customers happy too, whether over the Internet or in person. “I have had people email and call me to thank me for making delicious chocolates,” she says. “Those moments make all of the labor totally worth it. I love participating in the farmers' markets as I meet such wonderful people and get direct feedback from my customers.”