The Sweet Side of February

Promote Michigan - Wine and ChocolateBy: Dianna Higgs-Stampfler


While chocolate is obviously available year-round, there’s something sweeter about savoring it in February. Maybe it is because love is in the air—with Valentine’s Day and all. Or, maybe it has something to do with the way it warms us up during the cold winter season. No matter why you love chocolate, here are some events and shops you’ll want to check out this month (and beyond).


1. Big Screen Cuisine: Like Water for Chocolate – Grand Rapids: February 14. Join the Downtown Market and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts for a truly immersive food-movie experience. The evening (for those 21+) begins at the UICA for a special screening of the classic movie “Like Water for Chocolate”—a romantic movie about a young woman forbidden to marry her true love and instead she turns her passion toward cooking. Afterward, the movie is brought to life in the dining room of the market, where chefs will prepare a fabulous 6-course dinner made with dishes from the movie—complete with drink pairings. The cost is $75 per person.

Chocolate Covered Boyne


2. MSU Museum Chocolate Party – East Lansing: February 28. Culinary competitors create their elaborate and edible masterpieces inspired this year by the movie Minions. In addition, the MSU Museum features exhibits showcasing a number of artifacts and specimens from the science and culture collections—a representing the wonders of the natural and cultural world. Proceeds from the annual Chocolate Party Benefit fund proper care of the Museum’s collections.


3. Chocolate Covered Boyne – Boyne City: February 12-13. This small Northern Michigan town, located along the shoreline of Lake Charlevoix, celebrates everything chocolate and winter over Valentine’s weekend. Events include s’mores and hot chocolate, a chocolate dessert contest featuring ultimate chocolate creations from area restaurants and a chili cook-off, as well as kids’ activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing and more.


4. Harvest Dinner Series: Root Vegetables & Chocolate – Suttons Bay: February 13. Experience the extraordinary Harvest Dinner Series at the Inn at Black Star Farms. The creative farmstead menu incorporates root vegetables and chocolate into each of the six courses, paired with Black Star Farms wines.

Beer Chocolate


5. Love, Wine & Chocolate – Grand Rapids: February 13. Spend the Saturday of Valentine’s weekend at Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery where special tastings of wine and chocolate are offered, for $12 per couple.


6. Wine & Chocolate Weekend – Jackson: February 13-14. The wineries along the Pioneer Wine Trail invite you out to sample different chocolates at each of their tasting rooms during this self-guided weekend.


7. Beer Studies: Beer & Chocolate – Bay City: February 15. Lumber Barons Brewery invites you for pairings of beer and chocolate, with their friends from St. Laurent Brothers nuts and chocolates. The cost is $20 per person.


8. The Local Epicurean – Grand Rapids. Learn the secrets to making perfect chocolate truffles during classes offered Fridays and Saturdays at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Classes are $59 per person and reservations are required.

JW Spa


9. The Love Spell Package – Grand Rapids: February 8-21. Treat your sweet to a day of indulgence at The Spa at the JW Marriott or the Spa & Salon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. An array of rose petals awaits as you enjoy the Valentine’s Couple Massage ($243). Relax with a 50-minute couples massage, chocolate covered strawberries and a glass of champagne. The Love Spell Package ($159) allows you to choose three of the following 25-minute champagne and rose services: a body polish, massage, manicure or pedicure. Rose petals, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries can be added to this package as well, for an added cost. These packages are available February 8-21 and are based on availability. To schedule an appointment, call The Spa at the JW Marriott at (616) 242-1475 or the Spa & Salon at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel at (616) 776-6498.


Both Kilwin’s in Petoskey and Sander’s Fine Chocolates in Detroit offer tours of their factories, for a unique behind-the-scenes look into this mouth-watering industry.


Looking for a sweet-themed get-away? The Cocoa Cottage B&B built in 1912 in Whitehall is an Arts and Crafts Bungalow that offers a quiet escape with personal touches and chocolate indulgences. The rooms even have sweet sounding names like Godiva, Hershey, Cadbury and the popular Ghirardelli Suite.


And, finally, mark your calendar for the Traverse City Chocolate Festival, coming up April 17 at the City Opera House.


If you’re simply looking for a place to purchase sweet treats, check out these chocolate shops:


1. The Chocolate Garden in Coloma
2. Grocer’s Daughter in Empire
Chocolate Garden3. Patricia’s Chocolates in Grand Haven
4. Alpine Chocolat Haus in Gaylord
5. Just Good Chocolate in Lake Leelanau
6. Mary Ann’s Chocolates in Grand Rapids
7. Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Ann Arbor & Birmingham
8. Gayle’s Chocolates in Royal Oak
9. Chocolates by Grimaldi in Grand Haven
10. Detroit Chocolat in Detroit
11. Chocolate Exotica in Traverse City
12. Gilbert Chocolates in Jackson
13. Drost’s Chocolates in Indian River
14. 45th Parallel’s Candy World in Suttons Bay
15. Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens
16. Veni’s Sweet Shop in Niles.


What is YOUR favorite #PureMichigan chocolate shop? #MiChocolate


This article was republished with permission from Dianna at Promote Michigan. We do our best to help with the promotion of the great State of Michigan!