Be Happy, Have Fun, Eat Chocolate

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - July 30, 2008
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Taste Chocolates' Vanesa Furnari
Taste Chocolates’ Vanesa Furnari

Vanesa Furnari handcrafts chocolate truffles on special order for parties via her company Taste Chocolates. She even creates names for the chocolates to match themed parties. Furnari has created chocolates for an ‘80s party, a Middle Eastern theme, a Mother’s Day theme and others.

“For an ‘80s party, I had Raspberry Beret, Rum DMC and Thriller,” says Furnari. “For Mother’s Day, I did chocolates inspired by mothers and women.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the 1980s references, Raspberry Beret is the name of a popular song by Prince, so this chocolate was filled with raspberries. Rum DMC, a rum-laced chocolate truffle, was named in honor of the hip-hop group Run DMC. She took the name for Thriller chocolates from Michael Jackson’s popular song and music video of the era.

Furnari uses seasonal products and says she hopes to use more local ingredients to make her sweet treats.

Give her 48 hours’ notice and the University of Hawaii at Manoa nutrition major can create a custom chocolate truffle.

At an art gallery showing, she set up her truffles on green ti leaves and had handwritten descriptions of each type of chocolate.

A couple of popular chocolates are the lilikoi mac nut and the lavender truffle. She also offers boxes, which can contain samples of four or eight chocolates.

“One of the challenges of doing chocolate for special events is that chocolate and the outdoors do not mix because of the heat,” explains the Palolo resident.

“If it’s outdoors, the chocolate will melt.”

Before moving to Hawaii in 2002, Furnari restored churches and theaters in New York City.

“My friends suggested I make a business out of my truffles,” recalls Furnari, who turned her hobby into a business within the last year.

“It was my hobby and I wanted to keep it fun. This is my candy money, and it supports my chocolate habit.”

Furnari also teaches yoga at various locations including after-school programs for children and at the women’s prison. Her future goals include partnering with other vendors.

“I love to see the expressions on people’s faces when they taste my chocolates,” she says.

For more information, call 777-7440, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or log onto


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