Speckled Hen Inn

Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day from The Speckled Hen Inn

Happy Valentine’s Day from The Speckled Hen Inn

Are you looking for the best chocolate in Madison, Wisconsin for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day?

It is the week before Valentines Day…in case you missed the wide array of candy spread near every entrance and cashier of every store and gas station. Sure, initially my mind says, “Oh…Yum, you should buy that” but very quickly my brain translates the message to, “Wait…I don’t think that stuff is even made with chocolate, I’ll pass”.

 

Similar to the masses upset over Cadbury’s recent decision to change the recipe of their famous crème-filled eggs, I’m a fan of authentic, creamy chocolate. Recently, I made my way into a small café on Atwood called Chocolaterian.  As I walked up, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would walk in to see a mystic behind the counter similar to the role Juliette Binoche played in the romantic comedy, Chocolat. Well, Juliette wasn’t there, but I did walk in to the wonderful aroma of freshly baked goods and a comfortably busy café-like environment. It was a Saturday afternoon and, although I would say it was busy, we didn’t have any difficulty finding a table for four.

While waiting in line and surveying the sweets, the artistry of the chocolatiers became obvious. If I think about it too long, it could almost make me feel terribly inadequate in the kitchen. Eh, someone has to be a consumer, right? The menu goes from macaroons and fondue to their delicious Ugly cookies (far more delicious than their name suggests). On this visit, we settled on the lemon tart (the idea of it now is making my mouth water) and I chose a Parisian Hot Chocolate – a choice others at my table were wishing they had made instead of the American hot chocolate. As mentioned in the blog a few weeks ago, European chocolate is much thicker and not quite as sweet as American hot chocolate. They continued to dip their spoons into my chocolate until it was…all…gone. Delish!

Madison Sweets has become a favorite stop for my daughter and I, a quick indulgence while window-shopping down State Street. Even if we don’t make a purchase, we have to walk through and imagine how all the goodies would taste. It’s more of a traditionally styled candy shop and, like the Chocolaterian, they sell more than chocolate but Madison Sweets only has sweets. Hmmm, surprised? I didn’t think so. You will however be shocked as you browse through what seems like every variety of candy possibly known to mankind. In macaroons alone, they offer more than 35 flavors including elderflower, bourbon pecan and basil. Those might seem bizarre to some people but to the confectioners working there, that’s what keeps their creative juices flowing and the customer returning. Bingo!

Although it’s impossible for us to compete with the craftiness of professional chocolatiers and confectioners, we welcome our guests to the sweet treats in our galley kitchen at the Speckled Hen Inn.  We always have homemade goodies for our guests, even in the middle of the night. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

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