NOTE: Sinful Sweets is no longer located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood and has since moved to the Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh. The updated address is below.
While I’m certainly guilty of still getting my chocolate from break room vending machines, my trip to Belgium in 2010 did help me to appreciate the art of fine chocolate, just as there are those who can appreciate a fine wine (as in, not from a box).
A couple of days ago I received an email from the social media manager at a relatively new chocolate shop in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood asking me if I would stop by and blog about it. Although I’ve driven through Lawrenceville innumerable times on my way to Oakland, I’ve never actually stopped to explore it. It’s one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods as well as one of the largest. While it went on a downward spiral in the later part of the 20th century, in more recent times it has been undergoing a transformation. Businesses like Christopher George’s Sinful Sweets are greatly contributing to this positive turnaround.
Sinful Sweets opened in November of last year and is George’s first business. Although his professional background is in the area of online higher education, chocolate runs deep in his family as his uncle owned a famous chocolate factory in suburban Chicago for many years. George mentioned that his uncle and cousin, who now owns the business, have been a great help to him in establishing his business and, of course, answering any chocolate related questions.
The store is located in the 4400 block of Butler Street, Lawrenceville’s main drag. Upon stepping into the store, the delectable smell of chocolate permeates the air. We commented on how ambrosial it smelled which was very neat considering that George told us no chocolate had been baked that day. Excluding the both awesome looking and smelling chocolates, the store itself was hip and pleasant to be in. An eye catching shade of pink illuminated the walls and definitely enhanced the quality photographs of chocolate that adorned it. It reminded me of a macaron shop I visited on my last trip to Paris.
What I liked most about Sinful Sweets is that dark chocolate was a prevalent feature, fantastic for me since dark chocolate is my favorite. George said that toffee is his most popular option (made entirely from scratch) although one of his newest creations, dark chocolate and strawberry pop rocks bark, is gaining momentum in popularity as well. Although D and I didn’t dare make a purchase, George even makes more unusual creations like chocolate covered bacon, chocolate covered potato chips, and chocolate covered orange slices. He did say that he will make anything on request so I hope upon my next visit to come up with something special for him to to create.
In addition to the multitudes of chocolates, there is also the option of ice cream (for reference an ice cream cup is $3), featuring a dozen different flavors. D and I were lucky to try two slightly unusual ones, carrot cake and red velvet. He told us that these two ice cream flavors featured cream cheese, which accounted for the extremely rich taste that was almost identical to the cakes themselves.
For our take home booty, we purchased sea salt caramels (dark chocolate), a campfire chocolate bar which actually featured teddy grahams and marshmallows baked into it, a dark chocolate coconut cluster (like a macaroon), two dark chocolate covered pretzels, and a mint and a peanut butter cream, all for under $10. Although everything was heavenly, my favorites were probably the sea salt caramels, as I love the pairing of salt and sweet.
I’m always happy to receive any types of communication through my blog, and yet one that alerts me to a chocolate store is even better. Sinful Sweets is a great place to check out and is a terrific new addition to Lawrenceville’s neighborhood renaissance while George the owner is utterly pleasant, informative, and helpful. It is businesses like this one and people like him that really help a struggling neighborhood to be reborn.