Our DeBrand luxury
An indulgence to give, to savor every day
Any honest and complete accounting of things that distinguish Fort Wayne – push the city above its peers, boost our reputation, help us shine – just has to include our hometown chocolatier, DeBrand Fine Chocolates.
DeBrand’s is the real thing, as the saying goes, and the most fabulous result of it being here, as founder Cathy Brand-Beere happily explains, is that it’s a luxury for us all. You can go big and buy large boxes of truffles, which is fine, or you can stop by and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or a single Raspberries & Cream (your choice of milk or dark chocolate!) or Rose Carmella.
The Carmel Pecan Patties are really popular, too, she said.
And you can relax and enjoy your treat in the lovely confines of the chocolate shop, where the air is perfumed with chocolate, coffee and the glorious flavorings and fillings, the chairs and tables are comfortable and the music is always soothing. Maybe you’re there with a friend or two, in which case enjoy your conversation!
The flagship DeBrand Fine Chocolates shop is on Auburn Park Drive, where the “chocolate walls” decor welcomes all visitors, who probably don’t notice the walls until much later because they are too busy going straight to the candy cases and beginning the delightful process of making their choices. Other shops are at Jefferson Pointe, on Coldwater Road and downtown in Ash Skyline Plaza. Each is a little different but designed to provide the same luxurious and welcoming experience.
And you can go on your way in a little while refreshed and with that gift you actually came in to buy . . . if that is why you came.
Fort Wayne is richer to have such places available to us all on an everyday basis. The first shop opened in 1987, and the company has grown to employ nearly 100 people and include a mail order and a whole sale division. Brand-Beere’s husband Tim works with her, and their three daughters grew up in the business.
The combination of chocolate shop and chocolate-themed restaurant is just logical to Brand-Beere.
“If you’re going to treat yourself to a truffle, it’s nice to have a place to sit down and have a latte with it,” she said.
After growing up in Fort Wayne in a family business which taught confectionery classes and had wedding supplies, Brand-Beere was equipped with skills to do a lot of things.
She also knows how to make pastries, but she admits she has no passion for it.
“I chose my favorite, which was chocolate, and decided to create my own line of chocolates and my own business,” she said. “It’s something that has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I love the creative process of any kind of product, but chocolate is my favorite.”
She puts that deeply ingrained knowledge to good use, to the delight of not only Fort Wayne’s chocoholics but our companions in taste nationwide and out into the larger world. DeBrand also has a wholesale division that supplies its chocolates to shops elsewhere, and it ships gifts all over the U.S. and even outside the U.S. to Canada, Europe and the Mideast, Brand-Beere said.
It’s easy to assume all that success is because of the chocolate, but she disagrees.
“It’s so much more than the chocolate itself,” she said. The magic happens because of “a few different chocolates and so many different centers.”
And the chocolates and flavorings that are used with the ice creams, she said, “are very similar as if you would melt a truffle and pour it over ice cream.
“It’s all related. If you are eating a Raspberry & Cream, it’s reminiscent of the Raspberry Truffle you’ve had.”
DeBrand Fine Chocolates
10105 Auburn Park Drive
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thur., 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. Consult website for special holiday hours.
Specialties: Chocolates plus coffees, hot chocolate and ice cream treats with DeBrand chocolate accompaniments.
DeBrand Caramel Mocha Latte with Sea Salt
1 jar DeBrand Caramel Topping
1 jar DeBrand Dark Chocolate Topping
1 box DeBrand Gourmet Vanilla Marshmallows (optional)
Shot of espresso or strong coffee
Sea Salt (optional)
6 ounces milk
1. Brew a shot of espresso or some strong coffee. Set it aside.
2. Heat the milk in a microwave-proof container that holds at least 8 ounces of liquid until it is hot.
3. Blend the espresso or coffee and 3 tablespoons of DeBrand Caramel Topping into the hot milk and stir until well blended.
4. Stripe the inside of an eight-ounce coffee mug with DeBrand Caramel Topping and DeBrand Dark Chocolate Topping.
5. Pour the milk mixture into the coffee mug.
6. Top the mug with whipped cream and DeBrand Gourmet Vanilla Marshmallows (if you are using them), and garnish it with swirls of the caramel and dark chocolate toppings.
7. Sprinkle a touch of sea salt on top (optional). Enjoy!
First appeared in the January 2017 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.