1976: Dilettante's Grand Opening
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.
2003: The Mocha Café Concept
In the year 2003, Dilettante Chocolates experimented with the concept of a new Dilettante Chocolates location. This new location would combine Dilettante's experience and history with coffee with its renowned chocolates.
Although Dana served coffee in Dilettante locations in the past, the new concept would further expand espresso selections. Customers could customize their mocha and hot chocolate drinks inside each store by choosing their own preferred chocolate flavor. In addition, these drinks could be paired with various baked goods or chocolate, creating a unique and delicious experience.
The Chocolate Scale would become the heart of this new concept. Baristas could melt these different chocolate blends in pots behind the café counter to add a fresh and luscious chocolate flavor to each drink. Embracing the idea of premium chocolate blends combined with whole-roasted coffee, Dilettante named this new store, The Dilettante Mocha Café.
The knowledge and skills passed down by Dana's family would once again prove helpful. The recipes and techniques lead to a new Dilettante confection that would be served hand in hand with Dilettante's coffee.
By using butter in ample proportions, baked confections could be made exceptionally tender. However, baking this way was a complicated process. Without a careful process, the butter could cause the baked goods to crumble before they finished baking. Eventually, Dilettante created its first batch of butter biscotti, a pastry to compliment the new Mocha Cafés.
During the year 2006, Dilettante Chocolates joined the Seattle Gourmet Foods family to answer expansion demands. The owners of Seattle Gourmet Foods, Kathy and Dave Taylor, worked with Dana Davenport to expand the mocha café concept and expand Dilettante's chocolate offerings. Within one year of partnering with Seattle Gourmet Foods, Dilettante created its iconic TruffleCremes.
In the year 2013, Dilettante Chocolates welcomed Kathy Taylor as its new owner. With her insightful leadership, and the dedication of her skilled team of confectioners, Dilettante continued to innovate and create new flavors and tastes.
As Dilettante's catalog expanded, so did the Mocha Cafés. With the help of its supporters, Dilettante Chocolates began opening several more Mocha Café locations around the Seattle area. Today, Dilettante has three Mocha Cafés, located in Bellevue, Sea-Tac Central Airport, and Kent Station. Visitors can treat themselves to Dilettante's signature mochas, pastries, and of course, chocolates.
2021-Present: Innovating The Mocha Café
Today, Dilettante Chocolates has four Mocha Café Locations, each in the Seattle area. Over the past several years, the Dilettante Café staff have been proud to share Dilettante’s long legacy of confectionery excellence. These years have been spent creating a community around each mocha café.
The stand-alone Kent Station Mocha Café has plenty of space for those who enjoy a cozy atmosphere beside a relaxing outdoor fireplace. Kent Station is the perfect meeting place to enjoy delicious mochas and pastries while catching up with friends.
Nestled beside the relaxing waterscape of Mercer Slough, the Bellefield Office Park Mocha Café has excellent sights. This café is popular during the warm summer months with plenty of outdoor seating and refreshing sandwiches, soups, and salads. This café is also available for catering events, specifically tailored to any individual need.
Those with a bustling travel schedule visit the Sea-tac Mocha Cafe frequently. Before taking flight, enjoy a signature mocha, elegant pastry, or decadent chocolate. This café is the perfect place to pick up a gift for anyone back home.
Dilettante’s Bellevue Plaza Center location is the newest Mocha Café and is scheduled to open in 2021. Looking forward, Dilettante is eager to share its confectionery craftsmanship with the downtown Bellevue area.
Over the past several years, Dilettante has shared countless memories with its supporters. As Dilettante continues growing, the bakery, chocolaterie, and cafés continue to innovate and experiment. Stop by and visit to experience new drinks, pastries, and chocolates.