Choc-uterie takes Wichita’s popular Alzavino wine tavern

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'Chocolate-uterine boards', the dessert version of a charcuterie board, is a specialty of the new Alzavino wine tavern in Delano.

‘Chocolate-uterine boards’, the dessert version of a charcuterie board, is a specialty of the new Alzavino wine tavern in Delano.

I’m a huge fan of charcuterie boards – wooden slabs loaded with piles of cold cuts, fine cheeses, nuts, and fruit – and I’ve even become a bit of a butcher over the past two years.

But one menu item at the new Alzavino Wine Tavern at 1001 W. Douglas in Delano does better than a traditional charcuterie board.

It’s a ‘shock-womb’ board, and instead of meat and cheese, it’s loaded with hand-made local chocolate bars, raisins, graham crackers, pretzels, and an S ‘dip. Melting chocolate mores covered with toasted marshmallows.

But the star of the bard is artisan chocolate, which is produced locally by a growing Wichita company called Lovie & Cie. Owned by Kristin Dexter-VonOot, the company produces gourmet white and dark chocolate bars enriched with herbs, dried fruits and nuts. Dexter-VonOot also has its own line of roasted coffee and seasonal hot cocoa bombs.

Dexter-VonOot said she started the business in 2019, spurred on by parents who said they loved her cooking. At first, she sold not only chocolate, but also spice mixes, smoked salts and extracts.

Her business was starting to take off when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so she used downtown to research and refine her passion, which is making homemade chocolate. When the world started to open up again, she said, she approached Janelle King at The work room and asked if she would be interested in wearing her chocolate.

She then started selling her chocolate on more and more shelves in local stores, and it is now available at the bar in places like Urban interiors, Espresso Sunflower, Clifton Collective and The Bohemian life. Lovie & Co. coffee is available at Market 67010 to Augusta and to Tamsyn Gallery on the Old Town Square.

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Kristin Dexter Van-Oot owns Love & Co. and makes the chocolate for Alzavino Wine Tavern’s “choc-uterie” boards. Denise Neil The Wichita Eagle

It was when her business took off, said Dexter-VonOot, that she met Alzavino co-owner Danielle Harmon, who at the time was still developing her own business idea. The women stayed in touch and when Harmon was finally ready to open her wine bar, which also offers local retail products, she reconnected with Dexter-VonOot.

Uterine chocolate boards are now an integral – and popular – part of Alzavino’s menu, which also includes charcuterie boards made from meat and cheese, a fruit and cheese platter, various flatbreads, hummus and a Creamy cheese dip with sausages.

Dexter-VonOot makes large chocolate bars for Alzavino, and his recipes are sprinkled with raspberries, orange slices, lavender, and rosemary. The kitchen breaks the bars and places them on the boards next to the mini palm trees made by Bagatelle bakery plus melted chocolate, graham crackers, raisins and pretzels. (Lovie & Co. individual chocolate bars are also available in the store.)

Harmon said his cooking has gotten creative with other seasonal dessert platters as well, and recently came up with a limited-time “pump-cutters” platter that included a cold and creamy pumpkin dip. More seasonal dessert boards and flatbreads will arrive in the future, she said.

New at Alzavino: Wine dinners

Alzavino, which opened in early September, has exceeded owners’ expectations, said Harmon, who opened the bar with her husband, Ken.

It’s unique because it features a special machine that dispenses various wines by the ounce, and customers fill their own glasses using prepaid cards. Regulars have playfully called the business “Dave & Buster’s of wine” and “QuikTrip of wine,” Harmon said.

“It’s going really well, and it’s so exciting because it’s a new concept and you just don’t know: is it going to be well received? she said.

The Harmons will soon be offering their first wine dinner. While they haven’t put tickets on sale or finalized a price, the first will take place on November 15 and feature Veritas wines outside of Kansas City.

Dinners will all include four-course dinners with four food and wine pairings. Harmon said tickets should be available by next week at alzavinowinetavern.com and to www.facebook.com/alzavinowinetavern. Each dinner will be limited to 60 people, and the second will likely take place in February, Harmon said.

Alzavino’s daily hours are from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Denise Neil has been covering dining and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners looking for local restaurant information. She is a regular judge at local culinary competitions and speaks to groups across Wichita about catering.


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