Local chocolate dishes delight

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Chocoholics know no bounds and when a craving strikes, we’ll go to the end of the earth to satisfy it. Lucky for us, chocolate-loving chefs around town are incorporating this addictive ingredient into courses both sweet and savory, keeping our hunger—and our cravings—delectably at bay.—Tami Keaveny

 (Photos by Nick Strocchia)

At Clifton Inn, dry-aged squab breast (top) is paired with smoked cous cous, beet purée, and pickled chanterais melons and drizzled with a dark chocolate cocoa nib jus.

The Local gets super sweet with its “Not So Hot Chocolate” custard (middle) anointed with whipped cream and cinnamon, and indulges the kid-at-heart with a warm walnut brownie topped with housemade vanilla bean ice cream that’s dripping with hot fudge.

At Palladio in Barboursville, a handmade fettuccine is flavored with unsweetened cocoa and nestled in a venison and blueberry sugo. And if your craving’s still knocking come dessert, there’s a coconut and cherry tart that’s drizzled with dark chocolate sauce.

Brookville confirms that everything’s better with bacon by adding some crispy local bits to an already irresistible chocolate chip cookie (bottom). A mug of rich hot chocolate gets fired up with cayenne pepper from the Spice Diva.

Sweet benefits
Heart-shaped, melted, covering a pretzel, or filled with cherries, chocolate’s sinful reputation precedes itself. But there’s more to love about this decadent delight than taste alone.

Dark chocolate—differentiated from cocoa butter and sugar-laden milk and white chocolates—is loaded with health benefits. Two tablespoons of the dark stuff packs a bigger antioxidant punch than four cups of green tea, thanks to heart-healthy flavanols derived from the cacao bean, as well as plenty of potassium, iron, and calcium. It has a low glycemic index that may help diabetics control blood sugar when eaten in moderate doses, and is loaded with compounds that light up the brain’s pleasure and romance centers. Add the right nuts—like walnuts or almonds—and it might as well be health food. This is all scientifically proven, but feel free to conduct your own delicious research.—Eric Angevine

Brownie points
Flowers wilt and die, so swap the stems for these chocolate treats and delight your sweetie a dozen different ways.—Megan Headley

Albemarle Baking Company’s chocolate dome
The Baker’s Palette’s brownie
Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes’s double chocolate cookie with caramel and sea salt
Feast!’s dark chocolate peanut butter balls
The Frenchman’s Corner’s Belgian chocolate-dipped strawberries
Gearhart’s jewel bar
Great Harvest’s chocolate bliss cookie
Greenwood Gourmet Grocery’s fudge from C-ville Candy Company
HotCakes’s chocolate toffee squares
Integral Yoga’s dark chocolate-covered goji berries
Splendora’s Italian hot chocolate
Sweethaus’s mini mochaccino cupcake

 

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