box filled with chocolates arrived in Laguna Beach directly from Portland when
Verdun Fine Chocolates & Gifts owner Hamoody Houdroge opened the second
location for the elegant Lebanon-based dessert shop last spring. He drove along Pacific
Coast Highway looking for a new location to sell his product,
and when he arrived in Laguna, he immediately felt confident that the store
would be a great fit for the community.
area, the people and the weather reminded me about Beirut, Lebanon, which is
where our chocolate is from,” Houdroge says. “I found a sign for lease, I
called the number and here we are. Honestly, I don't think any other stores
here carry the same type of chocolate. We specialize in hazelnut butter and
coconut, and we also specialize in layered chocolates. It's a unique and
really makes these Lebanese jewels so sophisticated, delicious and unique is
the sugar decadence, the lack of preservatives and how they're hand-wrapped in
people mistake Verdun for a jewelry store, which inspired Houdroge to fill
jewelry boxes with chocolates decorated as though they were pearls. Each
chocolate has its shape, flavor, name and the equivalent of 12 grams. The
flavors offered at the stylish chocolatier include cappuccino, caramel,
coffee and apricot.
isn't a single flavor here I don't love. I love it all,” Houdroge laughs.
the distance, Hamoody commutes between Laguna Beach and the Portland location,
which opened 8 years ago, making sure his chocolaty jewels are sophisticatedly
sold. But while in Laguna, he invites the people of Orange County to the
downtown location at 540 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 106. He hopes to get to know them
and teach them about his elegant and delicious chocolates.