Self-guided Chocolate Tour – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ann Arbor is truly a chocolate paradise, and chocolate is everywhere!  So, if you love chocolate, just look or ask for it because it will be there!

Here’s a tour of some of my favorite stops.  It is by no means the most comprehensive list, just a manageable two-ish hour strolling tour of some of my favorites.

BEGIN YOUR TOUR AT ZINGERMAN’S NEXT DOOR, next door to the famous deli. Just tell them you want to taste chocolate and they will take very good care of you.  Here are some of the many, always-changing options:

– Hot Cocoa Coffee Cake, Chocolate cherry bread made and Hunka burnin’ love chocolate cake

– A variety of hot cocoa, including Spanish hot drinking chocolate, Scharffen Berger hot cocoa made with milk from a local dairy and intense, rich cocoa made from Mindo cocoa

– Chocolate gelato

– Zzang Bars—old fashioned candy bars made at Zingermans Candy Manufactory (I love it!)

– Locally made, almost-too-gorgeous-to-eat treats by Sweet Gem Confections

– El Rustico—a collaboration candy bar between Zingerman’s and Askinosie Chocolate in Missouri with a unique texture and flavors.

TURN LEFT after coming out of Zingerman’s Next Door and cross the brick street, then go the corner to the crosswalk and cross Fifth Avenue (be careful!), and enter the glass doors into Kerrytown Market and Shops. Go up the red steps and make your first stop at The Spice Merchants.  Just tell them you’re on a chocolate tour and ask them what they have because it changes all the time.  One of the employees is a candy maker.

TURN RIGHT and head a couple of stores to Fustini’s to taste some chocolate balsamic and imagine the possibilities! If you can’t, they can help you.

TURN RIGHT out of Fustini’s and head down the steps or elevator, then walk through Hollander’s decorative paper store. There’s no chocolate here, but it’s too unique and amazing to describe, so you just have to walk through it.  Plus, the exit you want to take from the building is at the other end of the store, so just walk through and enjoy.  Then exit the building and go down the steps.  If you can’t figure out what I’m talking about, just tell them you want to go out the Fourth Avenue exit.

TURN LEFT after coming down the steps and head on Fourth Avenue towards the next block, where you’ll find your next stop, just past the People’s Co-op (it’s actually part of it) and go into the Café Verde to pick out something from their goodie   The choices change often and if nothing looks good, just keep moving because there’s plenty more to come.

TURN LEFT and head a couple of stores away to the Tea Haus, where you’ll want to take a seat (if you can find one) and have a cup of their Dark Chocolate Tea and whatever macaroon or pastry looks good to go with it. I love their German Chocolate or Chocolate Caramel macaroon–the flavors change every day.  They are as beautiful as they are tasty!

TURN LEFT after sipping your tea and start heading downtown as you cross Ann Street, then Huron. TURN LEFT when you get to Washington Street and head a couple of blocks to babo market, where they sometimes have homemade chocolate/peanut butter pop tarts!!  This place is so cool and funky and the food choices are endless.  Again, just see what looks good to you and go for it!!  Be sure to check out their selection of chocolate bars.

TURN RIGHT after leaving babo and head West on Washington a few blocks, then TURN LEFT onto Fourth Avenue, then TURN RIGHT one block later onto Liberty Street, where might already start to smell the homemade waffle cones at Kilwin’s. Here’s another place where you just walk in and get what looks good to you, including chocolate dipped oreos and rice krispie treats.  My favorite is the cashew turtle—which just melts in your mouth!!  Or get some chocolate ice cream in one of those waffles cones!  MMMMM!!!!!!

TURN RIGHT and walk just a few steps to the corner of Liberty and Main and go into the Cherry Republic to taste all kinds of chocolate/cherry treats.

CROSS MAIN STREET after you come out of Cherry Republic and TURN RIGHT and walk down Main Street one block and TURN LEFT ONTO WASHINGTON, then go about a half a block to a white building on your left and walk into some great, casual Cuban food at Frita Batidos, where you should try the churros with chocolate dipping sauce or a rich, chocolate batidos (milkshake), if you still have room!

 Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Hope you enjoyed the Tour!  Tell us what was your favorite!

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