Chocolate lovers unite! Today is your day. October 28th is National Chocolate Day which means you can indulge in chocolate without guilt – not that guilt really ever stops a chocolate lover. Here are nine delicious options for celebrating all things chocolate.
Voila Chocolat, New York
The vision and of Peter Moustakerski, Voilà Chocolat is an experiential chocolate-making concept that allows chocolate lovers of all ages to walk in off the street and make your very own high end chocolates. With Halloween just days after National Chocolate Day and Voila Chocolat has both occasions covered. If you happen to be in New York this week, take the kids to Voilà Chocolat in costume to make chocolate Halloween-themed shapes, pumpkin Voilàllipops, Halloween-themed chocolate plaques and bark, pumpkin spice truffles and more.
Fortunately, it’s not all about the kids. On Halloween night from 8pm til 10pm Voilà Chocolat has Halloween for Adults where you can make your own 3-D chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns and skulls while imbibing as you choose with beer, wine, prosecco or hot chocolate and snacks. www.voila-chocolat.com
Chocolates by Kelly, Richmond, Virginia
For the last 20 years, Kelly Walker has used the knowledge she obtained from her grandmother to create amazing confections in her shop, Chocolates by Kelly. Behind the charming storefront in Richmond, Virginia’s Church Hill District, you will find a decadent selection of hand-crafted chocolates including salted caramels, cranberry vodka and chocolates infused with locally produced Virginia wines. Kelly also offers several types of chocolate making classes like Chocolate of the World – a tasting of chocolates sourced from all over the world. In her Sweet Science of Chocolate class, she gets to express her inner science geek as she introduces the chemistry behind chocolate making. www.chocolatesbykelly.com
Palace Café, New Orleans, Louisiana
Dickie Breenan’s upscale Creole Bistro, Palace Café in New Orleans has used 85 tons of white chocolate in the last 24 years. Why? They are the inventors of the original White Chocolate Bread Pudding – a not to be missed staple on the bistro’s dessert menu. The dish starts with day-old French bread from the city’s leading po-boy bread producer, Leidenheimer Baking Co., which is stuffed with white chocolate, then baked and smothered in warm white chocolate ganache. The Palace Café uses more white chocolate than any other restaurant in the country because of the demand for its bread pudding. www.palacecafe.com
Gearhart’s Chocolates, Charlottesville, Virginia
When you visit Gearhart’s Chocolates in Charlottesville, it’s impossible not to notice the adorable little chocolate puppies on the shelves. “When my oldest son was three it occurred to me I didn’t have anything in the shop for kids,” says Tim Gearhart. He decided on the always popular combination of chocolate and peanut butter and created whimsical, hand-piped PUPS made from premium milk chocolate and Virginia artisan peanut butter. The PUPS are decorated with a dark chocolate face and toasted almond ears. But these little PUPS are more than a cute face, Gearhart’s donates 5% of sales of all PUPS to Companions for Heroes, a charitable organization that matches rescue pets as companion animals to wounded veterans. www.gearhartschocolates.com
Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, Grapevine, Texas
Dr. Sue’s Chocolate exists to inspire others to a more healthful lifestyle. To that end, she only makes dark chocolate using all-natural products with no additives, artificial coloring or flavors. Her artisan chocolates start with dark, European-style chocolate. She pairs the chocolate with “superfoods” like blueberries and ginger to create appetizing chocolates minus the guilt.
“If the chocolate is going to have an orange peel in it, I want it to be an organic orange peel,” says Dr. Sue. She feels very strongly about using local products whenever possible. “We participate in and donate to events that support the Dallas Farmers Market. We patronize local farmers, particularly organic producers of figs, oranges, lemons, berries, herbs, eggs, butter, honey and pecans to feature in our products.”
“I want the company to be a platform to inspire people to read labels, know what’s in their food and make good choices. It’s not about vilifying food, it’s about realizing that good healthy food eaten in moderation along with maintaining an active lifestyle are the keys to health and wellness.” Healthy and delicious – now that’s a combination that is hard to beat! www.drsueschocolate.com
If the only contribution Jerry Swain ever made to this world was the decision to become a chocolatier and start Jer’s Chocolates – well, that would have certainly made the world a sweeter place to live. But Jerry Swain doesn’t just contribute chocolate. His contributions reach out to the community, touch lives, inspire young people and generally just make this world a bit more delicious. Jer’s Chocolates initially began as peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Jer made these while he was in college as gifts for friends. The confections were affectionately named “Jer’s Balls” and were wildly popular with family and friends. Jer developed that concept into an award-winning chocolate business and has recently forayed into gourmet chocolates. Once you taste Jer’s Chocolates, you will be forever grateful his journey led him down the chocolate road. When you see the difference his philanthropic lifestyle has made in the world, that journey becomes infinitely sweeter. www.jers.com
French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville, North Carolina
When Jael flirted with Dan (the cute bartender at her brother’s wedding) she was flirting with destiny. The two young lovers took off to Costa Rica in a converted Volkswagen van that ran on fuel made from vegetable oil. First, they made a couple of cute babies and then started making chocolate. Ultimately they found their way back to Asheville where they opened the French Broad Chocolate Lounge which sure has sweetened up the Asheville food scene. This wildly popular lounge has live music and offers an assortment of chocolate beverages, coffees, teas, wine and beer; and decadent desserts like the Highland Mocha Stout Cake. This dense chocolate cake with a dark, malty flavor from local beer, layered and topped with coffee butter cream and finished with dark chocolate curls is so delicious you may want to extend your chocolate holiday. www.frenchbroadchocolates.com
Roni Sue’s Chocolates, New York, New York
Some 30 years ago, Rhonda Kave and a friend took a culinary class where they learned how to make buttercrunch. Little did she know that class would ultimately lead her to open a chocolate shop in the Essex Market in New York’s Lower East Side. Today, Roni-Sue draws inspiration from exploring both exotic and local markets to find new and special ingredients for her unique handmade treats. She builds a ‘flavor profile’ for each of her candies—layering different elements to create a complex and nuanced expression of that essential flavor. Roni-Sue is a parter in MOHO Chocolate Company, with a factory in the Fort St. Tourism Village in Belize City. She also leads chocolate weeks at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize’s Toledo District where she explores the origins of chocolate. What a delicious way to spend a vacation! www.roni-sue.com
The Chocolate Spa, Hershey, Pennsylvania
A day at the Chocolate Spa in Hershey, Pennsylvania is the ultimate in the celebration of chocolate. The spa meets all the customary expectations including beautifully appointed locker rooms, quiet lounges for relaxing before and after treatments and expertly trained technicians. The Chocolate Spa goes beyond the customary by making chocolate available at every turn. There are Hershey’s Kisses, chocolate muffins and delicious hot chocolate in the relaxation lounges overlooking the magnificent Hershey Gardens. But the chocolate indulgence doesn’t end with the treats – it carries over into the treatments.
Exclusive to The Chocolate Spa is a complete line of chocolate based spa treatments including the Chocolate Fondue Body Wrap, Whipped Cocoa Bath, Cocoa Bean Polish, Cocoa Massage and their newest chocolate offering – the Cocoa Facial Experience. It truly is the sweetest place on earth. www.chocolatespa.com