Most people appreciate a little bit of chocolate every now and then, but if you can’t get enough of the decadent dessert, we have a few more options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Visit these ten chocolate-loving locations to try some unique takes on your traditional sugar fix.
Red Truck Bakery—Marshall & Warrenton Locations
Red Truck Bakery has earned quite a few accolades; it was named one of the 15 Best Small-Town Bakeries by Travel + Leisure magazine and Conde Nast’s Traveler named them one of America’s 13 Destination Bakeries. The bakery is also a favorite of both former President Obama and celebrity mega-maven Oprah Winfrey. When visiting, feed your chocolate craving with the Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake, a decadent (and gluten-free!) dessert made with Callebaut dark chocolate, eggs, butter, vanilla, espresso, and orange. For a tasty chocolate treat that incorporates a local Virginia product, order the Double-Chocolate Moonshine Cake, made with real corn whiskey hooch in the next county over. A rich chocolate cake topped with a smooth chocolate glaze, the dessert was named one of the most unique gifts of the year by Bon Appetit and NBC’s Today Show. Can’t make it to the bakery in person? The bakery ships nationwide on the same day as they are made, guaranteeing a fresh and flavorful delivery.
The Conche embraces chocolate in everything they do, from the seasonal, creative cocktails to their coca-filled dessert menu. This restaurant provides an indulgent experience for even the biggest chocoholics. Start with the Crispy Calamari, made with a double chocolate stout beer batter. Next, try the Seared Scallops, crusted with cocoa nibs and served with a cocoa infused black bean puree or the Cocoa Rubbed NY Strip Steak with a chocolate burgundy reduction. When it comes to dessert, consider either a selection of their Boutique Bon Bons or, if you’re really looking to splurge, the ConcheEntremet. Served and flambéed tableside, this dessert consists of a dark chocolate sphere encompassing rich sour cream chocolate cake, Guanaja chocolate cremeux, and salted caramel ice cream, all topped with caramel and chocolate sauces.
Horton Vineyards & Winery—Gordonsville
Combining chocolate with one of Virginia’s favorite beverages, Horton Vineyards offers two dessert wines crafted with chocolate essence. If you lean towards white wines, try the Blanco Xoco, a sweet chocolate-infused white wine made with Rkatsiteli and Vidal Blanc grapes. Red wine drinkers will love the Rojo Xoco, a favorite in the Gordonsville-based tasting room. This red wine is made with Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Norton, and a dark chocolate essence, resulting in a wine that tastes like a raspberry Tootsie Roll pop.
Cock & Bowl—Occoquan
Visit Cock & Bowl in Occoquan to try a truly delicious chocolate treat: The Tortue (Turtle) Waffle. This exquisite dish starts with a freshly baked Belgian waffle, which is topped with a mix of Belgian chocolate and caramel, pecan brittle, and a liberal dollop of whipped cream. The restaurant has an array of both sweet and savory Belgian waffle options, or you can create your own customized waffle with a selection of individual toppings.
Brothers Craft Brewing—Harrisonburg
Photo Credit: Chelsea Wood
Brothers Craft Brewing celebrated five successful years as a Harrisonburg brewery, and to mark the occasion they released their Anniversary Molé Stout, a rich base chocolate stout with traditional Mexican molé flavors like cacao nibs, vanilla, cinnamon, and chili peppers. Another chocolate offering currently on tap at the brewery is the Chocolate Hazelnut Resolute, a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout.
Proper Pie Co.—Richmond
A staple in Richmond for both savory and sweet pie lovers, Proper Pie Co. dreams up a mouthwatering array of pies. Chocolate fans should try the Chocolate Chess Pie, a true Southern classic in the pie arena. Made with an irresistible crust and topped with a mountain of fresh whipped cream, the dessert is a revelation for your taste buds. If you’re considering splurging on a second slice, order the Chocolate Raspberry Cream Pie.
Trummer’s Coffee & Wine Bar—Gainesville
If you’ve ever been on a camping trip, you have probably tried the gooey goodness that is S’mores. Get a taste of nostalgia at Trummer’s Coffee & Wine Bar with their rich S’mores hot drinks. Choose the homemade hot chocolate for kids or consider the made-to-order latte if you need a little caffeine boost. Both chocolate drinks are made with a homemade dark chocolate sauce and vanilla syrup, then topped with toasted marshmallows, a generous chocolate drizzle, and gram cracker crumbles. Pair with the Chocolate Croissant, Tiramisu, or Biscotti, all baked in-house and served fresh.
Gearhart’s Chocolates—Richmond & Charlottesville Locations
Photo Credit: Monica Pedynkowski
Gearhart’s Chocolates has locations in both Richmond and Charlottesville, as well as an online shopping option for chocoholics not near the stores. While they carry a wide array of chocolate treats, our pick for a unique gift is the Pod & Vine Gift box, nine pieces of artisanal dark chocolate made with premium wines from three Virginia vineyards. Barboursville Vineyards collaborated with their Cabernet Franc, mixed with damson plum preserves; Jefferson Vineyards’ Petit Verdot is mixed with raspberry jam, currants, and a hint of black pepper; and the “Seven” Port from King Family Vineyards is blended with hazelnuts and vanilla. If you prefer something a little stronger with your chocolate, pick up a box of the Virginia Malt Whisky Truffles, crafted with dark chocolate ganache, spiked with Virginia Distillery Co.’s Highland malt whisky, then hand-rolled in Valrhona cocoa.
Cocoa Mill Chocolatier—Staunton
How about some chocolate with your chocolate? Cocoa Mill Chocolatier in Staunton fashions edible chocolate heart boxes which are then filled with an assortment of milk and dark chocolate truffles. This tasty, heart-shaped box was featured in the Wall Street Journal and won “Best Overall” in a nationwide chocolate taste test. Plus, you can feel good about indulging at Cocoa Mill, since all of the chocolates made at Cocoa Mill Chocolatier are handmade and fair trade, helping developing countries promote sustainable farming and achieve better trade conditions.
Glass House Winery—Free Union
Glass House Winery may be located in Virginia, but you’ll forget that fact as soon as you step inside. Tropical plants, trees, and flowers fill the conservatory, creating an atmosphere more likely to be found on a Caribbean island. However, the experience itself is the epitome of Virginia, with outstanding wines, friendly staff, and of course, incredible chocolates. The winery is owned by a husband-and-wife team that each brought their knowledge to the table, his as a botanist and hers as an expert chocolatier. Together, they craft a perfect pairing of wines and chocolate, which is evident in the resulting products. Sample the Red Wine Cream, filled with a buttercream center made from Norton wine and dark chocolate, or the Raspberry Champagne, a milk chocolate ganache with raspberry liqueur that contains coated carbonated fizz bubbles and is decorated with edible pastry balls that resemble champagne bubbles. Pair with the 2014 Meglio del Sesso, a chocolate dessert wine made with Norton grapes and real chocolate.
These are just a few of the unique chocolate experiences you’ll find in Virginia. Tell us, where do you go to satisfy your chocolate cravings?