This past Saturday Misty and I got around to doing something we had been planning since last November. We packed up my tiny car and headed to Stratford, Ontario, to take on the Chocolate Trail. The chocolate trail is a genius idea, where you purchase a pack of tickets and go on a self guided tour of the downtown area and demand chocolate from people. Seriously. You tell these fine people you are on the chocolate trial, hand them a ticket and they give you some sort of chocolate goodie.
After stopping at the Tourism Alliance our first stop was Rheo Thompson Candies. From the second we walked into the store the smell of chocolate was intoxicating. Everyone from Twitter followers (@Topher1973), to the girls at the Tourism Alliance to friends on Facebook recommended the mint smoothies. We were able to get some samples and they were amazing. Smooth and creamy, minty not so much that it overpowered the taste of the chocolate. It was actually difficult not to ask for a sample of all the truffles they had in the display case. Our passes allowed us to get a box of 4 truffles each. I selected a mint smoothie, a vanilla caramel, an original caramel and a strawberry chocolate.
Our next stop on the tour was to Treasures where we split some chocolate covered cranberry brittle. We sat on a bench on the side of the street to enjoy our candy and watch passers-by. I somehow got covered in melting chocolate. My hands, the hem of my shirt, even my camera have smudgy chocolate finger prints on them. Misty and I had to spot check each other before moving on to our next stop, Bradshaw’s. My mother used to force me to keep my hands in my pockets when we entered stores like this when I was young. Misty and I scoped out the Waterford crystal and I drooled over the Le Creuset cookware. As we wandered around I wondered what this store would offer us chocoalate-wise as there didn’t really seem to be any food to be had. They actually gave us a stemless wine tumbler filled with different chocolates that pair with different wines. Amazing. This is what I found so interesting about the chocolate tour – I paid $20 for the pack of 8 tickets, some things cost two tickets, and somethings we split but even still, the price tag on the bottom of the wine glass was $9.95, we each got one, so even if that was the only stop on our tour we would have essentially made our money back and we havent even gotten to the cocktail hour of our journey!
We wandered around a few more stores, I bought some extreme beans and Misty bought her hubby a little treat for the summer grilling season at Kitchen Connaisseur. I did my best to show genuine intention of buying all of the fancy spreads and sauces while my real intention was just to have a little mid morning snack. Success! After some more window shopping we headed to the stop on our tour that we had been waiting for all day – Foster’s Inn. This place offers chocolate martini’s as their treat. The restaurant is warm and charming looking and as Misty and I saddled up to the bar we found the staff to share the same characteristics. I am not normally a fan of chocolate martini’s (or apple martini’s for that matter), I tend to think that they are martini’s for people who want to look sophisticated but really don’t like a good cocktail, which results in them looking trashy. That being said, when someone offers you a cocktail for free I firmly believe you take it, regardless of any inherent safety concerns. This chocolate martini was amazing. It was frothy but smooth, the glass was rimmed with chocolate shavings and there was a vodka soaked strawberry at the bottom. The drinks actually went down so well that we had a second round.
We were going to walk off our buzz but we were both starving so we decided to have dinner a little early. Twitter follower Chris made some great recommendations but I let the birthday girl pick and she chose Felini’s, which was actually on Chris’ list. We devoured the bread basked which was served with olive oil and some delicious balsamic vinegar, shared a caesar salad and I dined on the cannelloni al forno, which was stuffed with mushrooms, leeks and artichokes. Misty had a greek pasta which she left at my house and has not yet been eaten (feta…yuck). Dinner was delicious and we were stuffed. We went for a walk around town and down by the river where we found some pretty views and this guy who sang on a barge floating down the river. We paced him for a while and were about to head out-of-town when we realised we still had one more ticket to spend. We headed off to Coffee Culture where we asked for our caramel covered brownie to go.
We had a fabulous time in Stratford. I would recommend the Chocolate Trail to anyone. Misty and I used it as a way to celebrate her birthday and spend some quality BFF time together, but co-workers were saying it would be fun for their summer team building event, or even a good day with the family. You could even make a weekend out of it and catch a play. Stratford was famous for Shakespeare before that Bieber kid showed up!
I knew on the way home I had to snap a picture of something that made me giggle on our way into Stratford. I don’t know why it made me laugh it might be the little lamb on the sign, or the fact that it boasts that it is ‘the best’ when it is also ‘the only’ but I will leave you with The Best Little Pork Shoppe.