CHOCOLATE TRAVELS with Nette Kovacs
*Angels Café: A cozy little café in downtown Ferndale. One of a kind European hot chocolate; dark chocolate hand crafted so thick you can set your spoon on it. Absolutely “the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.” says me. By the way, do plan on lunch or dinner -the food is great too.
214 West 9 Mile Road, Ferndale, Mi. 48220 – 248.541.0888
*Gayle’s Chocolates: The interior feels like a cross between an old fashion soda fountain and a European café. Pick up a valentine, or yourself, the champagne truffles, which are dreamy. Gayle’s is also hands down, no contest, my choice for chocolate covered dried cherries. I’ll give them an official “ best I’ve ever had” mark of approval. Though, there are several hot chocolates to choose from I enjoy the ‘classic’. The chocolate is rich, garnished with whipped cream and a thin Italian wafer. Gayle’s also has two convenient airport locations, for the traveling chocoholic – like me – which, is great for those looking for gifts to bring home before leaving DTW. 417 South Washington Royal Oak, Mi. 48067 – 248.398.0001 * Also located at DTW in both the North and McNamera Terminals
*Cannella Patisserie & Creperie: A great place to celebrate Valentines Day. This charming café/patisserie, with a few black iron tables and chairs, warm caramel colored walls, and hanging artwork, depicting floral landscapes, all amounts to an oh so Parisian feel. On weekends and special occasions there is live music. I fondly remember an accordion player, performing old French songs, which made for a super romantic Valentines Day, complete with chocolate crepes. There is a lovely assortment of French pastry and the hot chocolate is frothy and delicate. 300 Hamilton Row Birmingham, Mi. 48009 – 248.203.9704
*The Grocer’s Daughter: In Michigan’s secret town of Empire, lays a chocolate connoisseurs paradise. Comfortably nestled along side of M-22, and surrounded by quaint cottages and hilly forests, is a stylish lime green building known as The Grocer’s Daughter. Serving handcrafted chocolates, truffles, and various chocolate products, The Grocer’s Daughter uses exotic spices and fresh local ingredients. Dark Chocolate lavender truffles, and milk chocolate with honey truffles, are two of my favorites. Can’t make the trip? Order online. www.thegrocersdaughter.com
*La Maison du Chocolat: A few doors down from the Rainbow Room in midtown Manhattan houses THE place for chocolate connoisseurs residing in New York City. At Maison du Chocolat, the quality of chocolate is outstanding. The hot chocolate is extremely rich, and so dark one cannot help but feel slightly dizzy from the experience of enjoying it. Maison offers ganaches, pralines, fruited chocolates and pastry that are as romantic as the City of lights itself. Allow yourself the indulgence of a quiet stroll, through the wintry beauty of Central Park, with a warming cup of cocoa from this magnificent French original – A rich memory indeed! Paris – New York – Tokyo – Online Boutique @ www.lamaisonduchocolat.com
*Vosges: Pushing the boundaries of chocolate and spice combinations to new heights, Vosges offers delicious chocolate from several locations including Chicago, New York, Las Vegas and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. With truffle blends as wild as milk chocolate with coconut and yellow curry, dark chocolate with hot paprika, or dark chocolate with balsamic vinegar, this chocolate house takes your taste buds on a culinary journey. I love the chocolate covered salted caramels with rose petals – so there! Visit one of their chic boutiques or go to their website and get on the mailing list.
*Ghirardelli: This American empire of chocolate originates in San Francisco. One cold winter day, I found myself in Chicago, window-shopping down the Magnificent Mile when, suddenly, my snowflake covered lashes were fixated on the big, glowing lighted letters that spelled G-H-I-R-A-R-D-E-L-L-I. “Oh Ghirardelli”, my favorite American Chocolate brand. “Wait! They have a store?” “What an exciting discovery!” Though, I find the Windy City to be very romantic during the winter, the sub Arctic weather can be quite painful. “Quick! Got to get inside!” I rushed into a warm room scented of sweet cocoa. With the feel of a classic soda fountain, Ghirardelli serves their famous Sweet Ground Hot Chocolate, topped off with marshmallows and whipped cream, well enough to make one feel like a kid again. Rejuvenated and invigorated, I was able to leave the shop ready to take on the world in my window gazing pursuit. But, not without purchasing a few goodies to bring home first.
830 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 60611 – 312.337.9330 – www.ghirardelli.com