Dunked, dipped, whipped and ready, the Great Lakes Bay Region is a sweet spot for those with a soft spot for choc-o-late! Here, you can revel in the richness of bite-sized Brownie Truffles dipped in dreamy, dark chocolate at the Vanilla Bean Bakeshop, devour Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cupcakes from The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe, savor The Sweet Boutique's oh-so-luxurious Chocolate Lounge, and even find sweet treats for the gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free or vegan love in your life at Frankenmuth's famous Sugar High Bakery.
But while decadent opportunities to sample are ample, this sweet region is also chock-full of chances to experience chocolate in totally new ways - detoxifying, beautifying and deeply satisfying ones! With Valentine's Day right around the corner, read on to dig in to our deliciously different ways to #GoGreat #ForTheLoveOfChocolate!
Mix It Up
Chocolate is known to pair perfectly with red wine, but how about doubling down with an even more decadent combination - a chocolate wine?
- Pick up a bottle of "Fudge" at Harless + Hugh Coffee in Bay City.
- Or try it for free from 5 - 7 p.m. on Friday, February 12 at Harless + Hugh's Modern Craft "Mix It Up" Wine Tasting event.
- The Michigan-based wine company, Modern Craft, describes their Fudge as "decadent, rich fudge meets mild, red wine to create this seductive blend with a silky finish".
#ForTheLoveOfChocolate Fact: Dark chocolate is a champion antioxidant, better than red wine, green tea and blueberries!
Pints & Pairings
Belly up at WhichCraft Taproom in Midland and order a CEO Stout, Dubious Black Chocolate Stout, or German Chocolate Cake Milkshake Stout to enjoy a taste of chocolate brew-fection.
- Many porters and stouts have flavors that are chocolatey; others are brewed with chocolate itself. The CEO Stout, for example, includes chocolate, espresso beans and oatmeal!
- Beer + Chocolate + You: WhichCraft will host a "Beer and Chocolate Pairing" event on February 14, Valentine's Day! Tickets include varying chocolates and a flight of expertly-paired brews; more information can be found here.
Try tasty treatments of the cocoa-kind at one of our many spas and salons:
- Give the over-the-top gift of chocolate with the Chocolate Indulgence package at A Touch Of Health Therapies in Midland; with Chocolate Mud Body Wrap & Face Treatment, 60-minute Swedish Massage, and Chocolate Foot Scrub & Reflexology Session, we can't think of a Valentine's Day gift more heavenly.
- Experience true chocolate bliss with a Chocolate Fondue Body Wrap or Chocolate Reviatlizing Salt Glow Wrap at The Day Escape Salon & Spa in Bay City.
- Opt for a romantic couple's massage, topped off by chocolates and a champagne toast for two, all in your own private couple's suite at Serenity Spa & Salon In Saginaw.
- Pop into any of our luxurious spas & salons for a chocolate-inspired mani (OPI Chocolate Shakespeare polish, anyone?) or give your locks a chocolate kiss with dark chocolate lowlights and matching mocha highlights.
Chocolate, With a Twist
A martini is defined as: A cocktail made from gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth, typically garnished with an olive or a twist of lemon. But a Chocolate Martini from Saginaw's Bancroft Wine and Martini Bar might just be defined as: Delicious!
- Chocolate Martini: Smirnoff vanilla vodka, Baileys TM, Godiva TM (dark chocolate liqueur). Served in a martini glass drizzled with chocolate syrup.
- Martini Mondays: Select martinis, including the Chocolate Martini, are just $5 from 3 - 11 p.m., every Monday.
Delightful and absolutely calorie free, stop into Midland's Coyer Candle Co. to enjoy a handmade, chocolate-scented candle: Mackinac Island Fudge.
#ForTheLoveOfChocolate Fact: The smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation
Caffeinated Cocoa Crunches & Coffees
Walking into St. Laurent Brothers in Bay City is a treat unto itself; walking out with dark chocolate covered espresso beans, available in bulk for $9.99/pound? A treat of Valentine's Day proportions.
(Psst! Looking to sip your sweet caffeine instead? Head into Bay City's coffee shop, The Fix, and order a Mocha Latte with made-from-scratch chocolate ganache - the chocolate is from St. Laurent Brothers!)
Disclaimer: Upon discovering chocolate-infused balsamic vinegar, available at Mercato di O&V in Midland, you may fall in love, many times over.
- Try it over strawberries, grilled fruits and ice cream
- Mix chocolate-infused vinegar with chipotle oil, and use as a dressing for a Mexican inspired salad with corn, black beans, cilantro and avocado. (Thank us later.)
#ForTheLoveOfChocolate Fact: Approximately 100 pounds of chocolate are eaten in the U.S. every second.
Sip & Soothe
Within the four walls of Those Nature People Herb Haus Frankenmuth, Chocolate Mint Black Tea is custom blended. Ideal for morning enjoyment, the pre-packaged, loose-leaf tea requires a diffuser for steeping, and (aww!) Those Nature People sell a heart-shaped one.
Slathering oneself in chocolate sounds like a daydream of sorts... but stopping into Midland's The Health Hut to purchase organic cocoa butter (a miracle product for lusciously smooth skin) could be a dream come true.
- The cocoa connection: Extracted from cocoa fruit, cocoa beans are cleaned, roasted and pressed in hydraulic machinery, oozing forth cocoa butter.
#ForTheLoveOfChocolate Fact: Chocolate mogul Milton Hershey canceled his reservations for the Titanic due to last-minute business matters.
Saunter into the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus to sample chocolate cheese, available in three flavors: Regular, mint chocolate, and chocolate peanut butter. (Yes, you read that right - chocolate peanut butter cheese!) Samples are free; chocolate cheeses sell for $4 - $7 per pound.
You tell us - did we miss any sweet spots? Where's the best chocolate around, and what's your favorite way to share the love of chocolate on Valentine's Day? Use #GoGreat and #ForTheLoveOfChocolate on Instagram & Twitter to share!