Sweet and savory indulgences in Clarendon Hills
Danielle Kirin sprinkles nuts over wine bottlesshe dipped in chocolate and drizzled with caramel at a shop in Clarendon Hills. | Jon Langham—for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 6:06AM
CLARENDON HILLS — For a client’s recent event, Danielle Kirin pulled out her edible paints to recreate Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and one of impressionist Claude Monet’s interpretations of the gardens at Giverny on white chocolate cloaked around strawberries.
“I showed up with them, and nobody wanted to eat them because they literally considered them art,” the owner of D’s Sweet Berries said.
Starting the weekend of December 15, Kirin will bring her artistic vision to baked goods prepared and served at The Hills Café, 34 S. Prospect in Clarendon Hills, where she also will locate her catering company.
Kirin began dipping and painting strawberries while she was working on her master’s degree and student teaching in early childhood intervention at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Any office party we had, I made something,” she said. “My favorite was the mummy I made for Halloween. The staff was like, ‘How did you come up with this?’ Honestly, I was bored at home.”
Returning to her native Clarendon Hills, Kirin, 27, soon found she was overqualified for the teaching positions available. She started her business about two years ago to make ends meet, and a steady stream of orders started coming in.
“Where I am from, people are health conscious. If I can mask a fruit in chocolate, I’ll do it,” she said. “Everything I do has to look cute. I’m a believer you eat with you eyes first.”
The orders also became increasingly creative, leading Kirin to fashion her dipped chocolate into sleeping babies, pigs and fish. She also began baking cupcakes, cake pops and gingerbread houses.
For Valentine’s Day, she’s teamed up with the owner of All Wined Up, where she works part-time, to dip and decorate wine bottles in chocolate. A holiday version is offered at the wine shop.
“If you put it in front of me, I might dip it,” she quipped.
Kirin also is preparing four-packs of what she calls “savory cupcakes,” entrees and sides like meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, and macaroni and cheese shaped and decorated like cupcakes.
Since January, Kirin has been itching to enter Cupcake Wars, the popular Food Network show. She was eliminated once, but asked to submit a video and is on a waiting list, noting she is in “cupcake purgatory.”
For more information or to place orders, visit www.dssweetberries.com.