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Decadence All Day! Part 3

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By Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

(This is the third installment of our Valentine’s-Day-and-Chocolate series. Also catch up on  Parts 1 and 2 at https://theberkshireedge.com/decadence-all-day-part-1/ and https://theberkshireedge.com/decadence-all-day-part-2/. One more still to come!)

Chocolate lunch

Don’t take Valentine’s Day for granted. Put your mindfulness training to use and savor a treat at the Swiss Hutte in Hillsdale, just over the New York line due west of Great Barrington. The nearby Catamount ski area will provide an evocative alpine setting. No need to travel to Gstaad! For dessert, Zurich-born chef Gert Alper suggests chocolate mousse, a chocolate roulade, or a chocolate sponge cake with a mousse and raspberry filling. And couples will be treated to a heart-shaped sugar-lemon Mailanderle cookie (au chocolat) served on a silver platter.

Alternatively, you could head straight to Joe’s Diner in Lee. Thursday is corned beef hash day (Valentine’s Day or not), but this Thursday you can chase your hash with a piece of home-made chocolate lava cake with strawberries on top.

Even Joe’s Diner, a mainstay in Lee, has something special for Valentine’s Day.

You might want to slow down during the afternoon; in fact, you may have to. Cleanse your palate with a little sparkling mineral water. Dinner lies ahead.

The chocolate cocktail hour

But first, stop at the bar for a chocolate cocktail, at least if the bar belongs to the Stagecoach Tavern in Sheffield. Mixologist Rafa Russi-Catalan will be concocting a special Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac made from Plantation Double Aged Original Dark Rum, homemade chocolate liqueur, Mathilde framboise liqueur, Ramazzotti amaro, molé bitters and Angostura bitters, served with fresh strawberries & chocolate. Vodka, tequila, and bourbon also pair well with chocolate flavorings. Yes, you could experiment at home, but part of the pleasure of Valentine’s Day is consorting and consuming in public, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re single or accompanied: just go (you never know).

At the Stagecoach Tavern in Sheffield, mixologist Rafa Russi-Catalan is offering a Valentine’s Day extravaganza at his bar.

Now dine

You’ve had a Swiss-European chocolate experience, so how about returning to chocolate’s roots for dinner? In Williamstown, Coyote Flaco serves up Pollo Oaxaqueno: grilled chicken breast topped with molé sauce, julienned vegetables and a Mexican salad. The chocolate’s in the molé: savory, not sweet. Donaji in Great Barrington also has molé on the menu.

In Pittsfield, Hotel on North is offering a special Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu (Thursday through Saturday) that includes a Chocolate Platter for Two with chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries, spicy fudge, and chocolate coconut and raisin clusters.

Chocolate lava cake at Chez Nous in Lee. Photo: Greg Nesbit

Or just wait for dessert after a fine meal at Chez Nous in Lee. It will be your second chocolate dessert of the day, but who’s counting when you can choose a Dark-Chocolate Toffee Milkshake for Two with fudgy brownies, crunchy cocoa meringues and fresh bananas created for the occasion? For those at home, Chez Nous pastry chef Rachel Portnoy shares her recipe for Warm Dark Chocolate Tart.

If you’re still love-struck at the Stagecoach Tavern, chances are you stayed for dinner and the Valentine’s Day entertainment: Catherine Hancock and Doug Schmolze come together for an intimate evening of classic love songs.

Back at the Stagecoach Tavern for a nightcap.

Reminder: the essential ingredient in today’s drinks and dishes isn’t cacao, it’s romance.

Tune in tomorrow to see what happens when the chocolate wave comes to shore.

P.S. This just in: You may know that Necco, maker of Sweethearts – those little candy “conversation” hearts with messages of love printed on them, like HEAT WAVE and URA QT – went out of business last year. When Robin Helfand of Robin’s Candy in Great Barrington heard the news, she bought a thousand pounds of the soon-to-be-vintage little hearts to have for Valentine’s Day this year. They now sit on little chocolate truffel thrones. They’re going fast. If you get one, treat it like a precious jewel.

Soon-to-be-vintage Sweethearts, dressed up specially for this Valentine’s Day, are available at Robin’s Candy in Great Barrington.

Chocolate shops of the Berkshires 

Chocolate Springs
55 Pittsfield Rd
Lenox, MA 01240-2123 USA
(413) 637-9820

H R Zeppelin Fine Handmade Chocolates
Stockbridge, MA 01262
(413) 559-0275

Catherine’s Chocolates
260 Stockbridge Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
1-800-345-2462

Peace Love & Chocolate 
36 Main St
Stockbridge, MA 01262
413-298-0020

Robin’s Candy
288 Main Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230
413-528-8477

Lindt Chocolate Shop & Beverage Bar
60 Premium Outlet Boulevard
Space B060 Suite 17
Lee, MA 01238
(413) 243-0637

Chocolate without borders

New York

Oliver Kita Artisan Chocolate
18 West Market Street
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
845-876-2665

Verdigris Tea and Chocolate
135 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534
(518) 828-3139

Connecticut

Thorncrest Farm, LLC & Milk House Chocolates
280 Town Hill Road
Goshen, CT 06756
(860) 309-2545 

Vermont

The Village Chocolate Shop
471 Main St
Bennington, VT 05201
(802) 447-3789

Vermont Confectionery
1541 West Rd
Bennington, VT 05201
802-447-2610

The Chocolate Barn
5055 Historic Route 7A
Shaftsbury, VT 05262
(802) 375-6928

The Chocolatorium
261 Old Mill Road
East Arlington VT 05250
(802) 375-6037

Mother Myrick’s Confectionery
4367 Main St
Manchester Center, VT 05255
(802) 362-1560

 


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