Inspired by a long family tradition of candy and pastry making dating back to 1898, Dana Davenport founded Dilettante in 1976 in the vibrant Capitol Hill district of Seattle, Washington. From our humble roots as a neighborhood chocolate and coffee shop, Dilettante Mocha Cafés have blossomed into something much more. Featuring a full line of gourmet chocolates, confections, pastries, and artisan coffee, Dilettante's craft continues to be celebrated and shared. Use the timeline below and experience the rich history of the Dilettante Mocha Café.
In the year 1976, the original Dilettante Location opened in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Then named, The Dilettante, the store served coffee, chocolates, and pastries and served as Seattle's first mocha experience. Dilettante's founding father, Dana Davenport, used the training and experience from heirloom family recipes to help him start his business. The combined knowledge and expertise from these notebooks allowed Dana to perfect Dilettante's signature flavor: Ephemere.
Derived from the word Ephemeral, meaning a brief and fleeting experience, Ephemere soon became synonymous with Dilettante. Ephemere chocolate brought together caramelized butter, sugar, and cream for a velvety smooth taste. Using this specialty cooking method, Ephemere offers a rich, full-bodied taste. Ephemere began as a chocolate sauce but became featured in many of Dilettante's confections over time. The most notable example is the Ephemere truffle, which Dana regards as his family's heirloom truffle.
The recipes and coffee service helped to make the Dilettante a Seattle icon. Five years after The Dilettante opened its doors, Dana's work even attracted the attention of The Pacific Northwest Wagner Festival. The festival requested Dana to create a confection celebrating Wagner's Ring Cycle. Named after the first of the four musical dramas, Dilettante introduced its Rheingold Toffee.
During the 28th annual National Fancy Food and Confection Show in New York City, the Dilettante Chocolate Truffle Assortment won the Grand Show Award and the Best Domestic Candy award. The award brought international attention to Dilettante and its specialty handcrafted truffles.
Dilettante's truffles would receive even more attention after being featured on PBS with Julia Child. Julia Child's PBS television production, Dinner at Julia's, filmed on location at the Dilettante Chocolate Factory on Cherry Street in Seattle's Central District.
Dilettante's Chocolate-Covered Fruit debuted in 1991. The original flavors included locally sourced dried cherries and apricots. The success of these two flavors led to the creation of chocolate-covered blueberries and strawberries, creating the classic fruit medley assortment.
The Dilettante changed significantly since its opening in 1976. Now known as Dilettante Chocolates, the company continued to improve its recipes and shared its craft with more and more people. The historic store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill later served as the foundation for the Dilettante Mocha Café concept.