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Anything but relaxed at Framingham's Chocolate Therapy

Posted by boston.com  February 10, 2014 05:46 PM

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Chocolate Therapy
Chocolate Therapy's strawberry balsamic truffles are made with dark chocolate, strawberry puree and balsamic vinegar.

Like many couples around Massachusetts, David and Pam Griffin are planning to spend time together this Valentine’s Day. They’ll celebrate with chocolate and maybe even wine. Unlike most other couples, the Griffins will be spending 13 hours together making and selling chocolate in their Framingham store, Chocolate Therapy, come February 14.

“By 9 o’clock we’ll all be ready to sit down or fall down,” Pam said.

The pair plans to sell at least 400 pounds of chocolate by week’s end, so it’s all-hands-on-deck at the shop. Their chocolatier, Rick Gemme, is also working 12 hours a day this week.

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Chocolate Therapy
A chocolatier fills molds with chocolate.

The store can churn out thousands of truffles a day. After Gemme makes the ganache, or truffle filling, the chocolates are coated by hand or by machine. The store’s machine can enrobe 500 truffles an hour and Gemme can coat a couple hundred chocolates himself in the same time.

“We’ve done this enough times, we pretty much know what to expect,” David said.

After Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the second-busiest day of the year for the store, which opened in Framingham a year ago. The original location in Dedham opened in May 2011.

“We see a gradual ramp-up, like this weekend was very busy for us,” David said. “Thursday it’s pretty crazy and then Friday it’s just insane. We literally have lines out the door.”

Most last-minute customers are men, according to David.

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Chocolate Therapy
The store's Pom Balm truffles, made with pomegranate molasses and dark chocolate, are popular gifts.

Chocolate Therapy offers truffles and specialty chocolates with healthy twists and unique flavors. Inside the dark chocolate Aristaeus truffle, you’ll find cold pressed olive oil and sea salt. Other chocolates incorporate sweet potato and ginger.

“It’s a spice rack,” David said. “You’ll see cayenne, cinnamon, bay leaf, pepper [and] a little bit of salt.

“We want to be a little bit different. We like to think of our chocolates as having a European profile. They’re not overly sugary like a lot of American chocolates are, but we want to put an American spin on it so we put a healthy additive to it.”

The store’s regular offerings include its popular pink Himalayan sea salt caramels, chocolate-covered potato chips, and chocolate almond bark. For Valentine’s Day, chocolate-covered strawberries (in milk, dark, and white chocolate), rosé pink champagne truffles, milk chocolate hearts dusted in gold cocoa butter, and a brandy cherry truffle with nutmeg and cinnamon are available.

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Chocolate Therapy
The store has specialty gift boxes in time for Valentine's Day.

The store also offers wine pairings for the truffles.

“We have a very nice red wine that’s fruity and well-balanced,” Pam said. “We’ll pair that with a milk chocolate truffle. We’ll do a rosé with a white chocolate.”

Besides wine pairings, the store also hosts birthday parties, runs corporate team-building events, and has a program to help Girl Scouts earn a chocolate-making badge.

“We’ve got a wide variety of things for everyone,” Pam said.

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Chocolate Therapy
Interested chocoholics can take a class at the store to learn how to make chocolate.

Chocolate Therapy will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.

Maggie Quick can be reached at margaret.quick@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MaggieQuick.

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