Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

A typical gift, from what I gather, on Valentine's day is chocolate, and what better place to get chocolate that melts in your hand, and not your mouth, than Florida.  Yes, know got that reversed, just a poke at the warm and humid environment here.

There is a chocolate store I was recommended to go to, by same person who suggested I go to Zingerman's, in Florida, specifically in Ft Myers.  Now, being the intrepid person I am, had to venture into the unknown lands of a chocolate connoisseur,  As a caveat, I went here week or so ago, not sure if they're open today.

A chocolate store?
Enter, stage left, Norman Love's Confections.  Truly the best, and prettiest, chocolate I have had the pleasure of tasting.  Sure, there are some rivals to this, like the wholesomeness found in Theo's Chocolates (they have factory tours), or the smoothness of some European brands, but this is special.

Have some good friends wintering in Florida and they're within spitting distance of the store.  I made a day trip to check out what all the fuss was about, and my oh my, was splendidly surprised.  Now, have a confession to make, person who told me about this place also gave me one of their chocolates, and I was blown away, even with it being dark chocolate.  Not by the wonderfully satisfying dark chocolate piece, but by their generosity in freely giving up one of their best treasures!
Delivery too?

My first impressions upon seeing the building was it's so TINY, really tiny.  At the moment there was a line 15 people deep waiting to get chocolate and it snaked through the store to the front door.  Was amazed at how small the store truly was.  When enter, on the right is store area and on left is a small seating area, like a cafe (they had a small solid chocolate alligator on the shelf).

Yumminess inside
After a short while wandering around and checking things out, hopped in line to get some true goodness.  I got the mix n match and truly have no idea what I mixed and matched.  One was banana something, another had a fruity type thing (cherry or strawberry?).  They're truly like works of art, each and every one is done to perfection.  Due to the line went rapidfire to get my box filled (16 or 24) with these works of art, naming things at random that looked (really, they all were) great and the names on the panel sounded tasty (to me).

After picking out chocolates there was also a selection of baked goods like croissants (told the almond one is to die for), cookies, brownies, etc.  I chose to go with a good ole standby, the chocolate chip cookie.  This cookie was nothing have ever tasted before.  It was great, and while not the best, will go down in the memory banks as being a very good one.  Nice and think and scrumptious with a flavor all it's own.
Dark chocolate sampler

As my camera was misbehaving (due to phone software), was unable to capture more pictures of the interior, and the display cabinet, but suffice to say there was all sorts of things on display, from chocolates to pastries, to little deserty things, and each one was a piece of artwork.  Truly felt guilty biting into my little chocolate pieces, until that taste flowed throughout my mouth.

And, to top it all off, there is more goodness to be had elsewhere in this area.  Next door in a little strip mall type place, they have an Artisan Gelato store.  Not much to say about gelato other than it was very delicious.  I don't pretend to be a gelato expert, and have only had it twice before, but this was excellent.  Once was when in Barcelona (or someplace in Spain) and the other was at place off one of the ferry stops in Washington state (north of Seattle).  Had the mint chocolate chip with a dap of cookie something.

At back of the chocolate store (not gelato place) was the kitchen where it seems like all the chocolates are made.  It wasn't a factory per se, but more like a commercial kitchen, with what looked like everything being hand crafted.  Couldn't really see too much in there, though people were working and saw some dirty (guessing) chocolate molds stacked haphazardly on end of the counter.  These molds could've just been waiting to be filled?  Not sure.  There were quite a few people in the kitchen toiling away, was interesting to watch for a brief minute.

If ever I have the need to send chocolates to someone, anyone, can rest assured they'll be getting some Love'in from Norman Love's!

I leave this entry with a picture of MY chocolates...  Hearts and all..

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