For some, as Valentineâ€™s Day approaches, so does a level of hatred toward the celebration of, as one of Madelineâ€™s friends put it, â€œthe sudden pairing off of people getting ready for the flood.â€
But, as foodies, we believe the gushy, lovey-dovey holiday allows for something more than, in some cases, a bad, forced date. Itâ€™s an opportunity to shop for and share sweets with your special someone â€“â€“Â or even friends. Itâ€™s your prerogative.
With that said, hereâ€™s a one shop stop to make your Valentineâ€™s experience a little sweeter than usual.
Walking into the little Downtown space, the teal and chocolate brown walls make diners feel as if theyâ€™re encased in one of The Chocolate Cafeâ€™s 18 desserts (priced from $6 to $10).
While remembering the start of his baking career, when he was about 8 or 10 years old, cafÃ© owner Mike DelDuca is interrupted by the faint timer sounding in the kitchen.
â€œExcuse me one minute, my timerâ€™s going off,â€ he says, going to check on a batch of breadsticks for lunch.
When he returns, DelDuca talks about Valentineâ€™s Day at the 2.5-year-old restaurant.
It will be packed, he says, reminding people to make reservations if they want a taste of his desserts, all of which he considers special, and not one more than the other.
â€œItâ€™s chocolate, what more do you want?â€ he asks, chuckling.
After chatting about whatâ€™s most popular â€“â€“Â itâ€™s a white chocolate croissant bread pudding for $8 â€“â€“Â DelDuca heads back to the kitchen and returns with two visually coordinating desserts.
He sets the Raspberry Rhapsody, a sponge cake with a layer of ganache and filled with a chocolate, raspberry mousse ($7), and the Chocolate Noire, a gluten-free, chocolate torte with ganache and paired with raspberry sherbet ($8), on the table.
Two women at the adjacent table eye the deep brown and fuscia delectables and order one of each.
There are options for people who either donâ€™t want a traditional dessert or want to enjoy their chocolate delights at home.
The cafÃ© serves up chocolate and dessert martinis ($8) and offers a selection of desserts to go from the Best Carrot Cake Ever! ($28) to the Peanut Butter Pie ($20). Twenty-four hour notice is needed for to-go orders.
Staff photographer Michael Kalush and News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at email@example.com.
The Chocolate Cafe
102 W. Olive St.
Reservations required: (970) 482-2725
Valentineâ€™s Day hours: 11 a.m. to at least 10 or 11 p.m.
3680 S. Mason St.
Valentineâ€™s Day hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
$15 for half dozen
Maryâ€™s Mountain Cookies
123 N. College Ave., #106
Valentineâ€™s Day Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. – 12-inch heart shaped cookie (decorated to order, personal message) ($15) – Buttercream frosted shortbread, heart-shaped cookies ($2.50) – Dark chocolate, dipped shortbread heart cookies ($0.75) – Mint chocolate, heart-shaped brownies ($2.50) – Peanut butter kiss cookies ($1) – Almond glazed, sugar heart cookies ($2.50)
Will package orders in Valentineâ€™s packaging. Request 24-hour notice for special orders.
The Melting Pot
Dinner and dessert fondue
334 E. Mountain Ave.
*Call for a special for Valentineâ€™s Day deal
163 W. Mountain Ave.