Top Pick Of The Week

January 26, 2010

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Gourmet Chocolate

Every piece is a work of [modern] art. Photography by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Fine chocolates from Nashville.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Top quality plus “eye candy” designs.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Beautiful “modern art” pieces.

Julie Hinton Chocolatier:
Gourmet Chocolate That’s Visual & Edible Art

CAPSULE REPORT: We haven’t been to Nashville in a few years. But if Julie Hinton Chocolatier had been in business during our last trip, we would have spent more waking hours eating her chocolate* and fewer hours hanging around the Grand Ole Opry and watching the daily duck march at the Peabody Hotel (to the tunes of John Phillip Sousa).

*The shop is located in Franklin, 20 miles south of downtown Nashville.

Music of a totally different kind emanates from the boxes of Julie Hinton chocolate. As the Bard said (sort of), “If music be the food of love, send me an extra large box of chocolate from Julie Hinton.” The beautiful chocolates look like modern art, in a choice of lovely packaging. Read the full review below.


This is Page 3 of a five-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages:


Julie Hinton Chocolatier Overview

It’s unusual for someone to have every detail so well thought out in such a new business. As a rule, chocolatiers begin with plain packaging and sometimes, less fancy chocolates; both tend to evolve over time. But either Julie Hinton has been in business longer than I know, or she’s just “got it all together,” as they say.

I’m not a person who makes a big deal over packaging, as a rule, but I couldn’t help exclaiming over the box from this chocolatier, a beautiful, multi-hued container with a perfectly-tied ribbon atop (see the Artisan Box No. 9). There are different packaging options to suit your taste (or the recipient’s), including a fetching “open heart” box for Valentine’s Day.

But you can’t eat a box, no matter how pretty it is, so know that the chocolates here are just as delightful as the packaging, both in looks and taste.


Pistachio Pyramid Chocolate
A shimmering pistachio pyramid, filled with pistachio gianduja.

Julie Hinton’s Chocolate Flavors

Ms. Hinton’s ganaches are spirited without being extreme. I love the uncommon shapes and color combinations she has created. Especially charming are the single-origin truffles that appear to be garbed in formal wear, but every piece is a bite of edible art.

  • Try the Caramelized Banana with Rum, a blend of 72% chocolate, fresh banana puree, cinnamon and dark rum. You can taste all of the component ingredients, and they exist in perfect harmony.
  • If dark chocolate isn’t your cup of tea, head straight for the Vanilla Bean with Armagnac piece (the white and red square in the photo at the top of the page), a combination of vanilla beans and white chocolate with a splash of spirits.
  • For the many who love coffee with their chocolate, the Whipped Espresso is calling. A high-cacao-content milk chocolate is mixed with espresso brewed from Kona coffee beans and lightened by whipping; the mixture is enrobed in more milk chocolate. (It’s the pyramid in the photo at top.)

Passion Fruit Caramel
It’s easy to be passionate about Passion, a white chocolate piece filled with passionfruit caramel.

If  you want to send your loved one a box of all chocolate hearts, there are Heartbeats, double semisweet red-painted hearts filled with milk chocolate ganache; Ignite Me, a dark chocolate heart filled with a spicy ganache infused with allspice, cardamom, cayenne and habanero chiles and cinnamon; and Passion Heart, a milk chocolate piece filled with passionfruit caramel. The same delectable filling is also available in Passion, a white chocolate mini-mountain, beautifully painted in abstract red and yellow tones (see photo above). It would fit perfectly in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Ms. Hinton also makes Fleur de Sel caramels; the website promises toffee as well. We look forward to trying them soon.

—Stephanie Zonis


Chocolate Bonbons

  • Petite Collection No. 5 (6 Pieces)
  • Artisan Box No. 9 (9 Pieces)
    (In Photo At Right)
  • Premier Collection (16 Pieces)
  • Heart For All Occasions Box (9 Pieces)
  • Valentine’s Day Tower or Platinum Cube
  • Other Selections Available

Purchase online* at


Continue To Page 3: Neo Cocoa

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Julie Hinton Chocolate
The Artisan Box holds nine delicious pieces.


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