English actress and comedian Jo Brand once said, “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.” And, we wholeheartedly agree. So, as an ode to all of the chocoholics out there, we’ve scoured the southwest metro in search of some of the best chocolate concoctions around. From cakes and cookies to martinis and pancakes, you can find this favorite flavor in just about any form—and it’s always delicious.
SEA SALT CARAMELS
Blending and molding custom chocolates for more than 30 years, the folks at Laketown Chocolates in Waconia are your local chocolate experts. Using a 150-year-old European recipe, they custom blend their chocolates, as well as hand-pour, dip, wrap and package them. Choose from milk chocolate, dark chocolate, dark mint chocolate and white chocolate confections, all made fresh to order. A customer favorite is the sea salt caramels ($10.33 for four, $12.27 for eight). These lovely caramel triangles are covered in dark or milk chocolate, then sprinkled with a light dusting of sea salt for the ultimate sweet-meets-salty experience. 141 W. First St., Waconia; 952.442.1102.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY LAYER CAKE
Both trained at the National Baking Center, owners Fred Mische and Mandy Chowen are crafting some delicious breads and pastries at Fred’s Bread in Eden Prairie. “We’ve searched for the finest ingredients, and our recipes are simple,” Chowen says. “We focus on the pure ingredients of butter, milk, sugar, eggs and flour—nothing artificial added.” For a decadent addition to your upcoming holiday soiree, you can’t go wrong with the chocolate raspberry layer cake ($37). Boasting layers of moist chocolate cake and raspberry filling, the nine-inch round is topped with raspberry syrup and covered in a dark chocolate ganache that’s made with Barry Callebaut chocolate and Organic Valley cream. 6872 Washington Ave. S., Suite #140, Eden Prairie; 952.905.1059.
School of the Wise
This local hotspot is a coffee house, wine bar and restaurant all in one. But you won’t want to skip the dessert menu here, either—especially the mocha fondue. When you think about it, fondue is every chocolate-lover’s dream—why not dip everything in a pot of smooth, velvety chocolate? School of the Wise’s mocha fondue is the perfect nightcap to your meal. This coffee and chocolate combo is served with homemade shortbread cookies, bananas and strawberries for dipping. 1750 Tower Blvd., Victoria; 952.361.9463.
Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt
Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt is not your average ice cream shop. Its innovative flash-freezing process seems straight out of the future, but the results are undeniably delicious. First, choose your dessert base—ice cream, custard or yogurt (or soy or almond milk). Then, pick your flavor from more than 47 options—and choose as many as you like! Lastly, choose from a variety of fruit and candy mix-ins. But for those of you looking for a piece of chocolate heaven, we recommend the Chocolate Conduction ($3.89–$6.69). “Instantly freezing the ice cream adds an enhanced richness to the chocolate flavors that you can’t find anywhere else,” owner Gwen Michael says. This concoction of sweet chocolate ice cream, fudge, chocolate shavings and brownies just might knock you off your chocolate-loving feet. 7828 Market Blvd., Chanhassen; 612.462.2087.
Whipping up premium fudge and chocolate confections from her Eden Prairie-based kitchen, Connie Groe is the brains behind Prairie Chocolatier. For a little taste of her confectionary genius, try the fudge sampler—which also happens to be the perfect stocking stuffer. Not only is it filled with 12 pieces of mouth-watering fudge, but it’s also totally customizable ($15.95). One of Prairie Chocolatier’s best sellers, you can choose any combination of the 33 flavors of fudge, like chocolate caramel pecan, peanut butter chocolate, cherry, salted nut roll, mint chocolate swirl, chocolate walnut or dark chocolate caramel sea salt. Since Prairie Chocolatier doesn’t have a storefront, call or visit the website to place an order; delivery is available in the Eden Prairie area. 952.943.8169.
Byerly’s killer brownies are, well, to die for. These gourmet bars come in four different flavors, so get ready for your chocolate-loving mind to be blown. The original killer brownie is layered with traditional brownie, caramel and chocolate chips, and is available with or without walnuts. Next up is the brookie—a traditional brownie bottom layered with caramel and a chocolate chip cookie batter on top. The peanut butter killer brownie boasts traditional brownie, peanut butter, caramel and peanuts. And last but not least, the German chocolate brownie dons German chocolate frosting layered with brownie, walnuts and coconut. All brownies are $3.99, but on Friday you can get two for $4.99. Want to share the brownie goodness? Order an assortment of 28 bite-size killer brownies filled with luscious layers of caramel and pecans ($29.99). 800 W. 78th St., Chanhassen; 952.474.1298.
Chocolate martini, anyone? Yes, please. Biaggi’s chocolate caffé martini is the perfect way to kick off a night on the town. This alternative to your regular olive-laden drink starts with Godiva white and original chocolate liqueurs, mixed with Patron XO Café coffee liqueur and Svedka vanilla vodka. And for that extra special twist, it’s served in a martini glass with an espresso sugar rim. Cheers to that! 8251 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie; 952.942.8555.