Sarah Dwyer spent her childhood poking her fingers into candy boxes to find her favorite—the chocolate-covered caramels. “The orange cream has a different squish,” she says.
These days, the 40-year-old Silver Spring resident knows exactly where to find the caramels because she puts them into boxes herself.
Dwyer makes elegant, handcrafted chocolates, including dark- and milk-chocolate-covered soft (not chewy) caramels flavored with balsamic vinegar, rosemary, raspberry, vanilla sea salt, coffee and more.
Decorated with edible gold and silver or colored cocoa butter, the caramels have slightly bitter, hard chocolate coatings and gooey sweet interiors, making for a great contrast of textures and flavors.
Dwyer got into professional candy making because she wanted to be her own boss and do something she really loved. She’d studied business management at the University of Maryland and worked in the banking field in Bethesda for about 10 years before leaving her job in 2009 to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Dwyer started her own company, Chouquette (pronounced shoo-ket, meaning a sweet French treat, or a term of endearment) after returning in 2010. She produces the candy in a rented commercial kitchen in Gaithersburg.
“I can eat a pound of M&Ms, and feel like I haven’t eaten anything,” Dwyer says. “When I eat a really good caramel, I don’t need anything else. My senses are happy.”
Chouquette chocolates are available online or at Bradley Food & Beverage, 6904 Arlington Road, Bethesda, and at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, 5205 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. A box of 16 chocolates costs about $40.