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Attain chocolate nirvana at Divine Treasures

The smell of chocolate envelopes you from the moment you walk into the small store in Manchester’s Parkade shopping plaza.

Here, at a unique shop known as Divine Treasures, glass display cases house row upon row of delectable, enticing chocolate creations — from caramels to truffles, bonbons to barks and more, some fruity, some nutty, some boozy and, believe it or not, all vegan, dairy-free and gluten- free, with most made of organic ingredients and many sugar-free, containing natural sweeteners.

For Diane Wagemann, the owner and master chocolatier of this cocoa wonderland, every day is heaven.

Wagemann was able to make her dream a reality after leaving her job at Pratt and Whitney to instead pursue the chocolate business, opening Divine Treasures in 2007.

A chocoholic since childhood, Wagemann has perfected her craft in this area, but it’s a labor of love — emphasis on labor.

“Of all the things I make, chocolate is the hardest to accomplish,” she said.

Wagemann brings French, Indian and Middle Eastern flavors to her European-style chocolates, which are based on recipes passed down from her grandmother. She also brings creativity. They are not only high- quality, but are beautiful to behold, joining your senses together in perfect harmony.

As she pulls things off the shelf for me to try, I am blown away by what I am tasting.

Boasting no refined sugar, no cholesterol or trans-fats in any of her gluten-free, vegan, house- made offerings, you won’t believe it either. For those with special diets and food allergies, it’s a dream come true.

Everything is made from scratch on the premises: the caramels, nut bases, vegan sour cream, creams and ice cream. If it’s offered for sale, its been made in-house, right in the kitchen in back.

The pumpkin, chocolate and vanilla vegan soft-serve ice cream is simply to die for. With all-natural flavors and a smooth and creamy texture, you can taste the quality.

Sinking my teeth into a thumb- print cookie with jam in the middle, I enjoyed the texture, attained with a base of coconut sugar. It was chewy, the way cookies are meant to be.

Divine Treasures boasts more than just sweets.

The Spanish-style and jalapeno non- dairy artisan “ cheezes” are made with cashews and slice beautifully. But, oh, the flavor and texture. It’s divine.

The shop also offers a freezer case filled with premade foods to-go, all vegan, of course, like pizza, lasagna and mac and “cheeze,” along with desserts including whoopie pies and ice cream.

With a cheery vibe, personal conversations and lots of love, care, diligence and time, Wagemann has built a lasting treasure over the last 13 years. Her obvious love of her staff and customers shines through with each interaction.

Divine Treasures is a local gem that has a unique holding power. It’s a business that is here to stay. One visit and you’ll be back for more.

Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh is a volunteer field editor for TasteofHome. com and owner of Music and More International. Contact her by email at ravingsandcravings@ gmail.com.

Divine Treasures staff includes Samantha Skeels, Roberta Fantasia, Jocelyn RIchard, owner Diane Wagemann and Mathew Skeels. Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh | For the Chronicle

Row upon row of goodies await you inside the glass display cases at Divine Treasures. Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh | For the Chronicle

A variety of cookies are offered. Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh | For the Chronicle

Each chocolate treat is made in-house at the shop. Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh | For the Chronicle

Divine Treasures is located in Manchester’s Parkade Shopping Plaza. Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh | For the Chronicle

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