As I hinted in Day 1 my friends in Charlotte are the most wonderful people one could ask for as hosts. So naturally, my day began with bacon and eggs at home. Mr. Host is a true fan of America's Test Kitchen and my. oh. my. best scrambled eggs of my life as a result. This tasty breakfast was enjoyed while watching the beautiful birds and butterflies who inhabit the loveliest garden in North Carolina.
After a leisurely breakfast we headed out to try more of the chocolate that Charlotte has to offer. We stopped at The Secret Chocolatier first. This purveyor of sweetness has two locations. The one we visited is where the chocolate is made while the other focuses on baked products and coffee. Chocolate is available at both locations and some of the chocolate coated baked goods are as well. My hosts liked the atmosphere of this place as well as its offerings. The staff was very friendly, working hard and did not rush our decisions or conversation. The chocolates and bonbons were varied and tasty. The chocolatier intern told me about their line of southern favorites like Key Lime Pie, so I added a few of those to my box. What I've tasted so far, their bonbons are a little sweet for me and the chocolate shell is fairly thick and not particularly intense in flavor. They mentioned that they use a couverture from Berlin. Overall, an impressive line of products.
The next stop was my absolute favorite when it comes to the chocolate. 20 Degrees Chocolates is situated inside Petit Philippe, a wine bar in the Myers Park area. The chocolate case had me feeling like a sophisticated adult in a candy shop. Clusters of three accompanied by a tiny sign describing each flavor acted as a guide while the fresh chocolates to purchase were stowed away in little drawers behind the counter. The husband and wife owned establishment is elegant and the staff incredibly passionate about their work. Casey, the chocolatier spoke with me at length about her business with an electric enthusiasm that was certainly contagious. She uses Cocoa Barry - which I truly enjoy, having learned to temper with it - as well as a few other chocolates like Valrhona. We selected 4 chocolates to try and enjoyed every one. I adored the 85% Dark Chocolate Truffle as well as the Steel Magnolia. This little gem is an absolute must.
|L to R: Peanut Butter Gianduja, Steel Magnolia Caramel, African Queen 85% Dark, Fleur de Sel Caramel|
|The cute corner where we enjoyed our morsels|
After our final food stop we took a stroll around some gorgeous English gardens and admired their offerings in the sunshine.
Dinner was another homemade wonder. We had leftover risotto from Day 1 - recipe to come - as well as pork tenderloin and salad. A delicious finish to a day of good eats and exceptional company.
Charlotte, I'll return to you soon.