Monday, June 6, 2011

Wayne County Chocolate Trail Report 1


The Chocolate Cult made an official visit up to Wayne County Indiana to experience their "Chocolate Trail".  This will be a three-part report for you all, complete with photos and hopefully comments from those who went on it as well, so that you can check it out and see if you might want to visit or find a similar trail in your own area.  Your Chocolate Priestess is also going to use this series of reports to make some suggestions for those on the Chocolate Trail and the general tourist issues for Wayne County and Richmond.  My hope is that this will help the city and county both improve the event.






We left at about 9:20am Friday, a group of six so two cars. Originally we had a group of eight but two people had to back out and that actually caused a few problems later on which we'll talk about in the third part of this series.  First problem was the fact that one car had GPS but the other didn't.  For the most part the second car could follow the first but to start with we had to use cell phones to get us all to the Welcome Center in Richmond, Indiana, where we picked up our "Passports" and some maps of Richmond, Indiana, and Wayne County.

After we all had our passports and each car had a set of maps, we went to the historic depot district of Richmond and found the two stops not far from each other.  Parking was a big issue but we were lucky each time, generally finding something on the first or second round of circling.  Parking is a big problem for the stops in most cases, the only real exception being the Warm Glow Candle Outlet which I'll report on in the next installment of this series.  If it had been a busier day, it would have been a nightmare to find parking.

It was after Noon so we went to Ghyslain Chocolatier & Bistro.  The name might be familiar, Sisters and Brothers, because we did a featured review of some of their Easter offerings this year.  It wasn't difficult to find but again parking was a serious issue.  Here you can see the front of the place is rather plain and surprising; you can actually see it much better from the highway just above it.  I don't know who that man is in the photo but he was opening doors for folks.



The place was busy but the manager, Paula, recognized our name because the Welcome Center liaison I was working with, Nancy, told her we were coming.  They got a table for the six of us and our server kindly took our photo after we ordered.




I ordered the ham & cheese croissant with red potatoes though sadly that was not chocolate sauce on the plate we were told.  I ended up bringing home half the sandwich and half the potatoes which I had the next day for lunch.  The lunch cost $9 which I thought was not only reasonable but actually a great price for the size of the meals and the quality. It was delicious and I think most of us agreed though I hope the others leave comments to give their viewpoints.


After lunch we each got our freebie piece of chocolate as the passport promised and some of us bought more as well.  To the left you see the chocolate display case, remember the bright Easter bunnies?  You see the same colors in this display.



 


Here you see the two freebie pieces -- one for myself and one for my hubby, our Milk Chocolate Acolyte.  Mine was the Blue Turtle -- walnuts -- and his was the Purple Rain -- raspberries.








They also had a display of pastries, ice cream and box/bagged candies with a few tables and chairs in the bistro.  It was amazing how much they packed in and it didn't feel crowded until we were all up front picking out chocolates and waiting to pay.  These pastries looked great but we were just at the start of our Trail Trek.





We also knew that we'd be having ice cream at our next stop so no one got the ice cream here in this display. 









At this time, given the pretty display of chocolate we frankly paid little attention to this corner and the boxes and bags of Ghyslain treats.








It was a one block walk to the Parker Company building which housed several businesses including the General Store, the Hardware store and Maria Mitrione's Italian Market.  As you can see from the outside along the entrance we had to use, only two of these three businesses of these is really highlighted on the side you need to enter from.  Inside it was difficult to tell where the general store and market began and ended though the hardware part was fairly obvious.


Inside was a long deli section with some seating at the counter plus some tables.  It was too hot to each outside; the temp got to 90 while we did the entire trail as well as time allowed.  Most of us sat at the counter to enjoy our freebie at this stop.






There was a display of ice cream, made in town by Smith Dairy.










The passports said a free scoop of hand-dipped chocolate ice cream but our server actually gave people a choice but I went with what was on the passport.  The general challenge with chocolate ice cream is that the cold and the cream often really tone down the chocolate but not in this case.  It was great!  Tomorrow, June 7, is "National Chocolate Ice Cream Day" so if you are near Richmond, Indiana, go and get some of this.


Then we left the historic district and went a bit further southeast to Olympian Candies.  We found it surrounded by non-food shops except for a little bakery which we told would be on the Trail soon. The red siding made it stand out nicely so it was easy to find.  Parking, again, was an issue with lots of on street parking which I personally dislike.



I was so distracted by chatting with the owner and the nice ladies of the shop that I didn't take photos inside like I should have.  This happens when I'm also traveling with a group.  So here is a second closer photo of their outside so you can find it, Sisters and Brothers.  I think this looks very much like an old-fashioned candy or ice cream shop from let's say the 1950s.



I added my freebie candy piece to the box of treats they gave us to do a featured review on.  That will be later this month, Sisters and Brothers so make sure you check back.  Here are all the treats in the box itself.






 Finally we found the SOS Craft Shop which had us debating several times before we stopped and went inside.  SOS stands for "Senior Opportunities Services" which helps seniors may extra income by working on crafts at home and their projects are sold on consignment in the shop.  Given all the cuts to social programs in the USA, a very foolish move your Chocolate Priestess's strong opinion but you the voters get what you deserve when you vote blindly, several of us bought something here.

The passport listed a free "chocolate swirl scratcher" and we were all wondering what the heck that was.  We doubted it was food but was it a back scratcher or a kitchen tool, maybe a candy making tool?  It was a sort of brillo pad or dish scrapper or potato/veggie cleaner.  You can see my and my hubby's here along with three towels we bought.  Now we NEEDED these towels and I made a very happy sound when I saw them.  See my mother always had these in her kitchen, we wiped our hands on them and had separate towels for dishes.  These hang on my own frig and we use them for the same reason.  Aside from those my mom gave us many years back and which we got after one of the hubby's grandma's passed away, I haven't been able to find more of these.  Here is my big suggestion to SOS Craft Shop -- to go with the freebies, have other products on display with chocolate themes or images.  I bet you'd sell quite a bit of them.

That is it for the first part of this series on the Wayne County Chocolate Trail in Indiana. Come back in a few days and then next week to check it the other two parts out.

2 comments:

Christine's Pantry said...

Great post. I wish I could have gone with you. Great photos.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks, Christine. I wish you could have come, too. More on Wednesday and then next week.

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