NEW for 2024 – Dean’s Sweets 20th Anniversary Subscription Boxes
Dean's Sweets Chocolate Peppermint Drops

NEW for 2024 – Dean’s Sweets 20th Anniversary Subscription Boxes

Wow, 2024! And wow again, Dean’s Sweets 20th anniversary! To mark the occasion, we wanted to do something fun and interesting and NEW. And because an anniversary deserves something special, we’ve been putting our ideas together for it for quite some time. While I won’t’ be giving away toooo many secrets here (well, maybe just a couple), I am happy to share our big-picture plan. So, get yourself on the Dean’s List and get ready for our new 20th anniversary subscription boxes.

Twenty years. How did it get to be twenty years?

Dean and I started our chocolate business as a side hustle. Dean was an architect (in many ways, he still is) and had been designing residential and commercial properties for over forty years, mostly in Maine. I had recently graduated from an MBA program at Babson College. I was working as a business coach, freelance editor, and fitness instructor while I commuted between Boston and Portland, ME. So, really, the obvious question is why not start a chocolate business?

Dean Dipping Chocolate Truffles

Dean had always been an excellent cook and enjoyed tweaking recipes to make them better and better. For years, he had been making chocolate desserts for friends and family. I had always been an excellent taste-tester.

Then he came upon a truffle recipe, liked it well enough, changed it, and perfected it. When anyone tried the chocolate, we consistently heard instantaneous and highly favorable feedback. Many said something along the lines of, “These are so good. You should start a business.” So, long story short, as Dean’s says, “We were silly enough to believe them.” We started Dean’s Sweets. That was 2004.

We started making chocolate truffles in our home kitchen, initially with two flavors – rum and brandy. Certified by the state of Maine, Dean made the ganache in a blender and a bowl. I sat in the dining room and put the chocolate in boxes. We got ribbon and tied some bows. Humble beginnings for sure, and we both kept our day jobs. 

Zoom ahead twenty years.

A lot has happened in these last two decades. What began as two flavors back in 2004 became over thirty. We added caramels, our top sellers. And buttercreams. We wanted to include bacon in something, so we made the bacon buttercrunch. And bars. Of course, we need some bars, so we made three different kinds. Then, just two years ago, we added twelve more in the form of our chocolate squares

Dean's Sweets Maine Sea Salt Chocolate Squares

I’ve joked that for a small business, we move slowly. We don’t think of an idea and, lickety-split, turn it into a new product overnight. No, like the behemoth we are not, it takes us most of a year to come up with the idea, research it, find the best ingredients, try it, test it. Then we hire the designer to help with the packaging. We get our photographer to make it gorgeous. Next, we get the images and text on the website with the help of our amazing website builders, Trueline. All of that means we choose our projects carefully because we invest in them tremendously.

NEW for 2024, Dean’s Sweets 20th Anniversary

Which brings us to today, the eve of our 20th anniversary. To commemorate and celebrate, here’s what we’ve got planned for 2024:

Every month for twelve months, we will be making never-before-offered chocolate confections. The new chocolates – all a surprise – will be available in our two Portland stores (for a limited time) and featured online in our monthly or seasonal gift box (available to order starting in Nov & Dec 2023). 

The ideas for the new chocolates come from years’ worth of discussions. Part of the fun of owning and running a chocolate shop is that we get to talk about interesting chocolate combinations at every dinner party and social event. It’s amazing what ideas get tossed around when there are few (practical) limitations and everything is in that dreamy stage, when anything is possible. There are always more ideas than we can possibly make.

Or sometimes we’ll be on a road trip and we’ll have a brainstorm. Or we’ll be inspired by something we come across when we’re traveling. We can’t make it happen immediately, but we always save the ideas. Now, we are devoting the next year to bringing these flavors out.

20th Anniversary Subscription Boxes

As in years past, we will offer three-, six-, twelve-month, and seasonal subscription boxes. Dubbed the “Dean’s List,” the subscriptions contain a collection of chocolates curated to match the time of year.

Dean's Sweets Valentine's Day Subscription Box 2024

The 20th Anniversary subscription boxes will contain all the new chocolates for 2024, spread out over twelve months. The monthly box delivered in January, for example, will have Double Dark hot chocolate, home-made marshmallows, plus a major Dean’s Sweets surprise (more on that below). February is all about Valentine’s Day. The month of May centers around spring and Mother’s Day. Plus, subscription boxes will even contain some experimental ideas in the chocolate pipeline. Prices range from $135 for three months to $495 for a full year of chocolate deliveries. Shipping is included.

Spoiler Alert

While it may spoil the surprise, we’re excited to share that in January the new featured item will be Dean’s Sweets Maine sea salt caramel popcorn. It’s a limited-time addition that the Dean’s Sweets team is particularly keen on. The sample batches disappear very quickly. Even after 20 years of chocolate-making, we don’t tire of exceptionally good combinations. This one has the sweet and the crunch, with just a hint of salt.

Dean's Sweets Maine Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn

While in no way diminishing the holiday season we are in, we’re also looking ahead to a great year to come. December looms large in the world of chocolate and we are excited to offer every bit of holiday joy that we can fit into a truffle, caramel, and buttercream. We’ve got our tried-and-true favorite hot chocolates, cocoa bombs, and decorated trees. We love our little snowpeeps who brighten our snowy days. Our holiday assortment will do the heavy lifting of bringing lots of good tidings to many near and far. And just around the corner, 2024 will be waiting. Wow. A new year, a 20th year! We’re eager and we’re ready!