about

 DarKitchen

Creating handmade chocolates in small batches in a 1910 brick mill building in Brattleboro, Southern Vermont, we are a husband and wife team with a passion for travel and good drink and food. Arriving from San Francisco, we put down roots in the Connecticut River valley after a serendipitous cross country adventure almost twenty years ago.

Our little town and the surrounding valley currently supports multiple bakeries, breweries, locavore restaurants, cheese makers, food producers and growers, making it a hub for those who love great food and drink.

We met in San Francisco over 20 years ago. Dar had recently returned from living in Poland and the Czech Republic, where she worked as a barista, prep cook and server at Café Nouveau in Prague’s historical Obecní Dum.  While creating signs for exhibitions at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts contemporary art museum in San Francisco, she also manned the espresso machine as a barista in a busy café in the Mission. John had recently moved to the neighborhood and was in the midst of recording an album, and Dar’s espresso drinks allowed him to function during the long nights and days of creating. When it came time to put together thank-you’s in the liner notes, John included her name. Several months later when the recording came out, they met up so he could give her a copy. A quick meeting turned into a several hour conversation, and we’ve been together ever since.

John spent several years as head coffee roaster and roasting shop manager for Mocha Joe’s when we first touched base in Brattleboro. His experience sourcing beans, cupping with leaders in the field like George Howell, as well as visiting origin have provided a great background to working with chocolate. 

Since moving to Vermont Dar spent several years freelancing as a graphic designer while at Peter Havens Restaurant, a bustling fine dining spot in downtown Brattleboro, working front of house, plating desserts and soaking in everything the chefs/owners offered. 

Dar Tavernier comes from a food-centric family with a long history of creating chocolates and other confections. Growing up in the fertile St. Lawrence Valley with a mother who encouraged Dar and her siblings’ creative impulses and a father who was an avid outdoorsman, her family table often included milk and cream from local dairy farmers, fruits and vegetables from area farms and orchards, wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries picked trailside in the nearby northern Adirondacks, fresh caught trout from local lakes and streams, and venison, rabbit and pheasant that her father hunted and brought home (verily leading her to become a vegetarian for many years, but that’s another story). The flavors of the spruce tips, wild mint, clover flower and other foraged treats she would taste as a child resonate in her recipes today. 

Chocolate combines the things we love most: art, food, science and place. We are absolutely thrilled to be doing what we do, and doing it here in southern Vermont.

Learn more about our approach to making chocolates here.

photo by abc

photo by sara brooke curtis for junction magazine

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