If, like me, one of your weaknesses is chocolate you’ll find a great chocolate tour in the Grand Traverse area of Michigan. Chocolate is no longer just a candy bar you pick up at the register on your way out of the drugstore. The delectable, luscious chocolates Europeans have known for years are making their way into gourmet chocolate shops around the U.S. The art of making fine chocolates is just that, an art, and skilled chocolatiers are finding a willing audience here in the states.
This years Traverse City Chocolate Festival takes place 12:00 Noon - 4:00 PM
City Opera House
106 E. Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
231-941-8082, ext. 201
Admission: $15 Adults, $8 12 yrs old and under*
Group discounts available.
Read on to find a delicious yet simple recipe for Decadent Chocolate Mousse.
You’ll find plenty of other reasons to spend some time in Michigan’s Grand Traverse region. This area has long been known for its beautiful scenery and wide variety of outdoor recreation. The Traverse City area is brimming with trendy shops, unique boutiques, fine wineries, and divine locovore eateries. It only makes sense while visiting to indulge in some sinfully delicious chocolates. There are plenty of delightful, chocolaty spots to tantalize your taste buds.
Long time self-described chocolate aficionado and chocoholic Barbara Disborough of Interlochen, Michigan, has made finding, eating, and sharing the best chocolate in the Grand Traverse area, her latest mission in life. A retired respiratory therapist, Barbara has been so inspired by her love of chocolate she’s penned The Guide to Chocolate in the Grand Traverse Region. “What a fun project” says Barbara. “This book clearly is an example of doing what one loves”. Barbara also hosts chocolate tastings, parties, and leads chocolate tours.
Here is just a sampling of the fifty-plus locales Barbara covers in her book where you can find tantalizing truffles, sumptuous sauces, fabulous fudges, delectable desserts, mouth watering mousses…you get the idea!!
Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates – 12020 S. Leelanau Hwy (M-22) - Owned and operated by Mimi Wheeler, Grocer’s Daughter is a small, family-owned business in Empire, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Her chocolate creations are made from naturally grown ingredients and she uses Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate from Ecuador. Mimi has visited the farming communities that produce her chocolate. She also buys ingredients from local Michigan farms, wineries, orchards, and apiaries, to ensure she has the freshest ingredients and helps support the local economy. http://www.grocersdaughter.com/.
The Chocolate Den – 324 E. Front St., Traverse City – Hand made and hand dipped using only the finest and freshest ingredients. They create melt in your mouth hand rolled and dipped truffles and creams with no preservatives. They boast having the largest selection of sugar-free chocolates in Northern Michigan. For nut lovers there are the nuttiest of nut clusters, turtles, and almond bark. For a real treat try the White Chocolate Cherry Bark made with local Michigan cherries. http://www.chocolateden.com/
Chocolate Exotica – 525 W. Front St., Traverse City – You can find it all here: chocolates, pastries, ice cream, cakes and cookies. From truffles, toffees and barks, to Grand Marnier cream puffs: filled with Bavarian cream and topped with white chocolate, to dark chocolate walnut cookies and chocolate raspberry mousse torte, you’ll have a hard time deciding what you want to tantalize your taste buds with. http://www.chocolateexotica.com/.
As I mentioned earlier this is just a sampling of the many fine chocolate treats that await you when you visit the Grand Traverse area. While there if you find you need a local chocolate expert to guide you give Barbara a call because if anyone knows chocolate she does.
You can visit Barbara’s website at: http://www.gtchocolatelady.com/
For information about lodging and dining choices and other activities, contact the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.TraverseCity.com or call them at 1-800-872-8377.
I purchased Barbara’s book while on a visit to the Grand Traverse area. The following recipe is reprinted here for my readers with Barbara’s permission.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse
"Many people don't make chocolate mousse because they think it's hard to make but it's really easy," says Barbara.
1 bar-about 3-4 oz. Of good chocolate
Generous ½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 fresh eggs, separated
¾ tsp. almond extract (a secret ingredient that enhances the flavor of the chocolate)
1 tbl. Sugar or maple syrup (this is to taste, may not want any or may need a little more)
Heat chocolate and cream together over hot water bath, and gently stir together when the chocolate is melted. Add secret ingredient as well as sugar or maple syrup at this time. Be sure not to get any water in the mixture.
While chocolate is melting, separate eggs.
Whip whites until stiff but not dry. Don’t over-beat.
Remove chocolate from heat. Should be very warm but not hot. You want to be able to beat in egg yolks with out cooking them instantly, but you want them to cook and thicken the mousse. With mixer on low, beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Fold beaten whites gently into chocolate mixture (Barbara folds the chocolate into the whites and says she has never had a problem).
Pour into little cups or flutes, cover and chill. Top with whipped cream when served.