Yesterday was the colonel's birthday, so he asked me to go over to Bruno Bakery and buy a couple of cakes for an impromptu celebration. It's a hard job, but someone's got to pick out the chocolate cakes. Now, facing the prospect of Valentines Day, I must once again go back into the world and find chocolate candy. Gee, life's tough. Fortunately, chocolate has known health benefits, so I can rationalize any purchase. Buying a little chocolate also helps the economy by boosting consumer "sentiment."
I first devised this self-guided chocolate walk for visiting friends who expressed interest in such a thing. I sent them to chocolate meccas in SoHo - Vosges, Mariebelle, and Kee's, stores within just a few blocks of one another. Now I feel compelled to broaden the walk to include Jacques Torres and a few pastry shops that also feature quality chocolates. I'm also partial to the very elegant La Maison du Chocolat up on Madison, but that's too far off my personal grid.
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Shopping for Valentines Day should also include a roundup of chocolate-covered strawberries, red velvet cakes, a big bouquet of red roses, and a bag of those little hearts with sayings on them. Greeting cards may be involved. After festively decorating the dining room table with these items, you've pretty much taken care of your own needs and could consider what to get for anyone else.
Image: Inside a case at Bruno Bakery (musical pleasures await at the website), LaGuardia Place. February 2008.