Chocolate Secrets gives Oak Lawn some sugar. And how sweet it is.

Food-Issue-Logo-02Magic happens when you walk into the door of Chocolate Secrets. Maybe it’s not as over-the-top as the Willy Wonka Factory, but it welcomes you with a neighborly sense and a tapestry of personalities from the general manger to the house chocolatier. And that’s all before even getting to the chocolate.

“Oh that makes me so happy you say that,” owner Pam Eudaric-Amiri says.

The former attorney opened the boutique sweet stop 10 years ago, eight spent in her current Oak Lawn location. But while the shop is located on the cusp of the upscale shops of Oak Lawn from Lemmon, the last thing you feel is any sense of frou-frouery. Eudaric-Amari wants this place to be an extension of home for everyone walking through the doors.

IMG_4080Chocolate Secrets may be the home to hand-painted truffles, delightfully-colored macaroons and gourmet ice cream (champagne floats are on the menu), but with a curriculum of classes (including like French lessons), wine pairings and live music, it’s more like an intimate haven in the gayborhood.

“To me this is a quiet place, a place where the answer is always ‘yes,’” she says. “If you wanna come here and sit and draw, study, eat chocolate or listen to jazz, yes, just come in and sit there and be happy!”

Eudaric-Amari speaks about her shop with heaps of enthusiasm that extends to her staff. She credits her West Indian heritage to the lose mood, which abounds with spacious furniture and board games, or café tables that conjure a Parisian bistro without a touch of stuffiness. And her team of employees feels more like a family than a staff.

Eudaric-Amari lets chocolatier Kate Weiser speaks for the goods. They create about 70 percent of the items for sale in the shop with special fun molds — like footballs and Texas-themed items that have become a signature — all thanks to Weiser.

“Pam was primarily purchasing chocolate, before I came in. But I walked in here and was so taken by it,” says Weiser, pictured with some of her confections. A former pastry chef at both Stephan Pyles and Nobu, she “loved the challenge of just working with chocolate. I can give Dallas something new.”

You can taste that in her Madagascar vanilla bean, or the bananas Foster bonbons that look like marbles, or the deep blue octagonal sea salt caramel bites. Sometimes, the hardest thing is bringing yourself to eat them — they look like tiny, organic works of art.

And if you’re trying to be good on your diet, Eudaric-Amiri says don’t count out chocolate.

“I don’t market chocolate as an appetite suppressant, but it’s so good for you,” she says. “It has to be good quality chocolate, but I started out at a size 20 and now I’m aiming to a size 6!”

— Rich Lopez

Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. 214-252-9801.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 3, 2012.