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Quintessential Chocolates: Visit Chocolat in Fredericksburg, TX


Walking into Chocolat (pronounced with a French flair) in Fredericksburg, Texas, is like walking into a jewelry store. Only better. Owner Lecia Duke crafts exquisite chocolates on site and has filled the cases with edible treasures, ranging from chocolates filled with sips of coffee and bourbon to creamy fudge. Using only the highest quality ingredients and a touch of innovation, she has earned a reputation for creating unique flavors that can’t be described in words, although I’ll try. They just have to be experienced.

This is the first in our series of three interviews with people who are making Fredericksburg a foodie destination!


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Listen to our full interview with Lecia Duke on our podcast on Apple or Spotify




Illegal in 47 States

IMG_6031Lecia’s chocolate-filled journey began when she was trained by Lindt Chocolate’s Swiss master chocolatier, Art Oberholzer, in 1983. “He started with Lindt when he was eight years old,” says Lecia. “I just called and asked, can you teach me this process [of putting liquid centers in chocolates]?” The answer was yes. He came to Nashville and spent two weeks with Lecia, never charging her a dime. She still keeps his picture on her desk. 

“I knew the boys at Jack Daniels,” says Lecia. “I told them I wanted to put Jack in the center of my chocolates and they went nuts. They told me I had to do this nationally.”

Ironically, the product was illegal in 47 states at that time, including Tennessee and her home state of Texas. So, she and her family packed up and moved to Washington state where she launched Quintessential Chocolates.

In the northwest, she was surrounded by coffee roasters, so despite being told she couldn’t make chocolates with non-alcohols, she decided to experiment. “No one could tell me why it couldn’t be done, so I did it,” she says. She used her background in architecture and changed the structure of the edible moisture barrier – the container that holds the liquid – to create the perfect, bite-sized treat. Today, the cappuccino and southern pecan coffee flavors are two of her favorites.

She has also created cocktail centers and has used several wine varietals. If you stop by the store, ask her about the experiment with Loganberry wine that turned into frothy disaster, leaving her kitchen floor dyed purple.

She’s been told that her creations “aren’t that illegal,” anymore, and after finishing up some government paperwork, it’s possible that she’s now legal in all 50 states. But she’s not spreading the word just yet, because she’s already selling out of everything she makes.

Gone to Texas

Born and raised in the Clear Lake, Texas area, Lecia comes from a family of engineers and creatives. Her mom was an illustrator for NASA, her brother was an engineer for the wind tunnel, her father was an engineer, and she also spent time working for NASA. “I was surrounded by all these creative thinking people,” she says. “My dad said, if you can’t solve the problem you’re going to get left behind. My architectural degree allowed me to analyze and design and be creative.”

When she came home to Texas, she headed straight for Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. It’s a place filled with fond memories of her mom painting bluebonnets while she and her brothers climbed trees and swam in the clear rivers. She also headed straight for the Garrison Brothers Distillery just up the road in Hye. “Garrison Bourbon outsells everything in the store,” says Lecia. “It was the first legal Texas bourbon. Everybody asked, ‘who says you can make bourbon in Texas?’ Dan [Garrison] says we can.”

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Behind the Scenes 

“Everything we sell in this store, we make in this store,” says Lecia. The magic happens on the manufacturing side of thechocolate holding tank building, and visitors can watch it happen. Two huge kettles of chocolate are in constant motion, tempering the chocolate before it’s pumped to a line (think Lucille Ball!) that forms a curtain of chocolate, which is then cooled to set the chocolate shell.

Back on the retail side, there is a free sample waiting for me (as it is for everyone who comes in the store). This one is tequila almendrado (officially Crema de Almendrado Tequila). “My daddy introduced me to it at 9 am on Christmas morning,” she says, “I’m like, ‘Daddy! We haven’t even had breakfast yet!’” But her dad suspected it would be perfect in chocolate, and he was right. 

The trick is to hold the chocolate in your mouth until the chocolate melts and the liquid seeps through the edible shell. It’s tempting to bite down. But if you bite, you’ll miss the full experience. Plus, you’ll be wearing it and there will be a mess to clean up.

I pop the chocolate into my mouth. As the chocolate around the tequila almondrado shell melts away, the chocolate has a moment all its own. Then, I start to feel the texture of the sugary shell against my tongue, followed by a tiny pinhole drop of flavor. At first, it tastes similar to an amaretto, thanks to the almond infusion. But quickly, there’s a second pop of flavor as the entire shell disintegrates and the more intense flavor of the tequila comes through. Moments later, all that’s left is a delicious memory, and all evidence of the chocolate and the alcohol have evaporated.

A Memorable Food Moment

When I think of my top food experiences, I remember eating shawarma floating in a felucca on the Nile, or cooking thin strips of wagyu beef on a hot stone at a Japanese restaurant in Santa Fe. But right now, this chocolate experience in Fredericksburg, Texas, ranks among my top five foodie moments of all time. Like any meal, the trick is to start with exceptional ingredients and use them in the most beautifully creative ways possible.

IMG_6029If you want to try it yourself, you can buy the chocolates online. Or, better yet, visit in person.

And one quick side note: please be kind. Fredericksburg as a whole is experiencing staffing shortages that are affecting every restaurant and retailer. Your patience, enthusiasm, and a warm smile can brighten someone’s day! 🌞







Shipping: As long as FedEx can deliver to your location within 3 days, you can have the chocolate experience delivered straight to your door.


Recommendations: You can’t go wrong with these!

Garrison Brothers Bourbon 

Tequila Rose 

Five Farms Irish Cream

Raspberry Wine 

Southern Pecan Coffee 


The Cookbook Creative

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