Gwen Fowler



Sample wine and chocolate a new shop in downtown Florence

Posted 8/12/2013 9:06:00 PM

After Joshua Keith and Marvin James decided to open a wine and chocolate shop, they spent six months in Belgium, studying to become master chocolatiers.

They returned to Florence and opened Dolce Vita Chocolate and Wine Tasting Room June 1.

“What better place to learn about chocolate than Belgium?” Keith asked.

They attended Ecole Chocolat, a school for making chocolates, in Belgium.

Keith and James make 16 types of chocolate (eight milk chocolate and eight dark), and usually at least 12 are on display in the store cases. Among the most popular are sea salt dark chocolate, vanilla bean espresso, and cayenne and cinnamon chocolate. I took home a box of eight, and they were so delicious you want that chocolate to last in your mouth as long as possible.

Dolce Vita also supplies Hotel Florence with boxed chocolates for its turn-down service. After many visitors enjoy the chocolates left on their pillow, many come to Dolce Vita for another taste, Keith said.

Wines are sold by the bottle at Dolce Vita, but the real attraction is the wine serving system. Customers can buy a taste, half-glass or glass of one of a dozen bottles in the wine serving system, and the wine comes directly out of the wine bottles.

The first step is buying a wine card, for any amount you wish, and you can reload the card when you wish. Then you can choose your wine, choose the size of your serving, insert the card and serve yourself.

The system is set up to serve a 1.5-ounce taste, a 3-ounce half glass, or a 6-ounce glass. The price of a taste is $1 to $2, and glass servings range from $4.50 to $9.

Dolce Vita also features cakes by Sweetleighs Cakes and Treats, a popular Florence business that sells cakes by order only. Dolce Vita generally has one cake to sell by the slice each day as well as Mason jar cakes. These cute cakes are jars filled with cake layers and icing. I brought home a red velvet one and a cookies and crème one for my family, and they disappeared pretty quickly.

This would be a great place to spend an hour or two with friends, sampling great wines and chocolates.