Friday, February 17, 2012

Nothing Says Love More Than...

 I have always loved Valentine's Day. It didn't matter if I was five years old with paper princess valentine's cards, a teenager with no hopes of a boyfriend, or a girl head-over-heels. Valentine's Day is all about love, of all kinds.

I fell in love the moment I stepped into Anna Shea Chocolates and Lounge last weekend. I could have spent all day there and emptied my bank account. This place is a chocolate lover's dream. For now, though, I'll focus on my first trip to the lounge where I was treated to a hand dipped chocolate covered strawberry and Red Velvet hot chocolate.

The whole place was ready for Valentine's day - since it was the weekend before the celebration of chocolate, reds, pinks, and fluffy love. My jaw practically dropped when we were brought a plate with these two large strawberries dipped in chocolate and decorated with silver and gold hearts and swirls. Not only that, but my red velvet hot chocolate came in this adorable cupcake mug. Being the cupcake fanatic I am, I wanted to walk out of the store with it. (of course I didn't though! I'm not a thief!)

The chocolate covered strawberries were almost too beautiful to bite into. We sat beside the glass window in the lounge where you can watch their chocolatiers creating the chocolates and baked goods as you ate. It was behind that glass, not that long ago, that those strawberries were just being dipped and decorated. It has a very sophisticated feel to it, knowing that as you take that first succulent bite. Oh and it was succulent. The strawberries were still juicy and fresh beneath that thick layer of chocolate coating. The chocolate was solid, making me nervous about breaking into and biting it, but it wasn't too thick to overwhelm the strawberry itself. The nice fact was that it felt fresh and not like it had been hardened, frozen, and kept around for quite a while. The chocolate was solid, but I didn't actually break my teeth biting down on it. It was more like a solid piece of chocolate outside the sweet berry. Not to mention the designs made it practically a work of art.

Let's not forget the real surprise out of this adventure though: the red velvet hot chocolate.
First off, I have never, ever had red velvet hot chocolate. I needed to try it. It was a Valentine's special, since red velvet is always the biggest seller and real heart of the baked goods when it comes to Valentine's day (I mean it combines cake, a bit of cocoa, and that bright festive red color, it's just perfect).

I was surprised how nice the flavors melded together though. It wasn't strange, like some of the reactions I got when I told people about it. It was like drinking hot cocoa, but it had this great rich, velvety flavor that blended alongside the actual chocolate. I couldn't get over the pink whipped cream either - it was a great touch to add to the red velvet touch. At one point while sipping I got a little marshmallow, which I didn't know was in there at first, and thought to myself "A red velvet marshmallow?!" It was blended so well with the hot chocolate and the red velvet flavoring that I was truly impressed. The whipped cream wasn't overwhelming either - like it can be in frappuccino or a milkshake. Instead it was a creamy, smooth texture that cooled the warm drink and created this great combination of flavors on your tongue.

I was in chocolate heaven at Anna Shea's Chocolates and Lounge. I'll write about them again, but be sure to check them out for fun and festive treats such as these. The red velvet hot chocolate may have to wait until next Valentine's, but it was my favorite treat this Valentine's Day. Let me know what your favorite Valentine's or holiday treat is so I can try it out.

- Mollie

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