We are so blessed to live in Maine, and not just because of the warm, sunny summers and the picturesque white winters, but because Maine is home to a large number of talented crafts people and artisans like weavers, potters, soap makers, chocolatiers, woodworkers, and jewelers. In every shop in every town, you’ll see incredibly-crafted, unique Maine-made products.
Since many of our couples wish to surprise their wedding guests with welcome bags and/or favors of authentic Maine made products, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite Maine made gifts in this blog series. Of course, many of these handcrafted items would make wonderful bridesmaid or groomsmen gifts as well as gifts for parents of the wedding couple. For guests looking for a unique and meaningful gift for the lovebirds, you will find gift inspiration in this series, too.
How did the business start and who are the owners?
Dean’s Sweets started as a fun and less-than-serious endeavor in 2004 when Dean Bingham made a batch of rum truffles to give away as gifts to friends and family. Kristin, who had just recently graduated with an MBA, joined the picture at the same time. Things didn’t get too serious too quickly, but eventually Dean and Kristin designed the product, the packaging, and the website. And got married. Thus, Dean’sSweets was born.
After chocolatiering in their home in Portland, Dean’sSweets moved to its first commercial kitchen and store front in 2008. Though a little more serious now, Dean still makes all the truffles, caramels, and other chocolates, and Kristin still co-conspires on the business side.
Describe the products you sell (including how they’re made, if applicable).
Dean’s Sweets is known for its Maine-made, hand-dipped chocolate truffles, caramels, and buttercreams. We use only natural products, no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and never any nuts. We use local ingredients whenever possible, for example, we use Coffee by Design in our coffee truffles and espresso buttercreams. We use Kate’s Butter in our caramels. Our maple truffles are made with Maine organic maple syrup. Our Needhams have a touch of Cold River (Maine potato) vodka. The chocolate stout, uses local brew Allagash Black.
In addition to being nut-free, most truffles are gluten free, and several are dairy free (which also makes them vegan).
Who typically enjoys your products?
People of all ages and all backgrounds enjoy our chocolates. Whether someone is coming in to our store to purchase one or two truffles to eat on the spot, or sending an assortment to a friend across the country, the chocolates are fresh and luxurious. Our highest compliment is when visitors come to our store and remark on the high quality of our chocolate. They say our chocolate compares with the best they’ve had in Paris or Belgium. We strive to make every bite a truly rich and memorable experiences.
Our truffles also make great favors or sweet-table treats at weddings and other celebrations. And we’ve heard that the chocolates are never left behind at the end of the evening, so brides and grooms are advised to keep a few tucked away for themselves. Dean and Kristin had their chocolate at their own wedding, now ten years ago.
What’s the best way to purchase them?
Dean’s Sweets can be purchased online at www.deanssweets.com or at our store at 475 Fore Street, in Portland.
What’s your favorite thing about Maine?
My favorite thing about Maine is how authentically friendly everyone is. People greet one another, make time for one another, and are kind to each other. There’s nothing better anywhere.
Owner(s) Name: Dean & Kristin Bingham
Business Name: Dean’sSweets
Address: 475 Fore Street
City/State/Zip: Portland, ME 04101
Phone: 207 899-3664