Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On the Road with The Chocolate Cult Spring 2016

Seven US states in ten days is quite a trek but I managed to find some new chocolate stops along this journey. Granted we didn't take the same trek but a different route in part because I wanted to see what was out there so I could share it all with you. Many of the discoveries were courtesy of family such as those you see in this first photo -- aunts, uncles, and a cousin introduced us to a place near St. Louis that I'll discuss very soon. In total I found seven new locations with chocolate and returned to two others. Ready to go on the road with me?

Our first stop on April 9, 2016, was at the Bobby's Frozen custard in Maryville, Illinois. This is a favorite place for our Boschert Aunt and Uncle and they treated all seven of us that you could see in the photo above. I've never had frozen custard; yes, there are still many things in this world your Chocolate Priestess has yet to sample. I got a regular chocolate concrete with chocolate chips; about the most chocolatey thing I could could make their without additional costs. It was very good but nutritionally it is more calories than ice cream without really added benefits so I should have gotten mini. But this was vacation so I splurged!


The next day, April 10, 2016, were kept seeing signs along the highway about chocolate and some place called Ozarkland. Neither my hubby nor me had ever heard of this place before but normally we don't take the southern route for these family visits. We followed the signs and found it in Kingdom City, Missouri. This is a chain of five gift, candy, and souvenir shops in that state.


They specialize in fudge so of course we had to get some. We did their buy "four blocks of fudge get two free" deals. We both found the fudge to be very sweet but I went with darker more chocolatey varieties (photo below) so I also found them to be very balanced in flavors. They also sell candy and a lot of other items. The lower level seemed to be higher quality goods that the upper floor but we explored it all.


On April 11, 2016, we stayed at a hotel in Council Bluffs Iowa very near the border between Iowa and Nebraska so we slipped to explore downtown Omaha. We had lunch at a sort of hippie natural food place (I ate nettles for the first time!) and asked where the best chocolate was. We headed off to find the Old Market area and explored it. We found two places that we had time to visit; another we saw but simply ran out of time. The first place we found just as it was opening for the day at 3pm was CupCake! Omaha.


We got an Oreo Cupcake and split it then decided we should have each gotten a cupcake... next time, we'll do a weekend in Omaha and fully explore and eat more of the city. It really did mimic the well-known cookie with cream in the center that, like the frosting, was not just a traditional frosting but really tasted like the cookie's cream filling.


We also found Old Market Candy Shop and chatted with owner Mike Pivonka for a while. Found out that he used to live and work in Indiana. This was the shop the restaurant told us to find; CupCake! was a bonus find along our walk.


They make all sorts of candy and fudge but since we just had fudge from Ozarkland we went with a few of their candy creations instead. Check out the milk chocolate molded Nebraska piece!


We didn't get chocolate again until April 14, 2016, when my in-laws took us to two new places in their city of Brookings, South Dakota. The first was a stop at Choco Latte not far from the hotel we were staying at. We'd seen it and the local magazine in the hotel listed it as well.


They also specialize in fudge (what is up with fudge and the Midwest, folks?) but beyond the sliver samples I bought two bags of milk chocolate treats they make -- ridged potato chips and strawberry licorice. Both were excellent, among the best of those types of treat that I've ever had. The fudge was average for such a shop.


The second Brookings chocolate find during was an afternoon trip downtown where we went to The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co. that I did a feature on this past Saturday. Click the link and you can see details about that but here's a photo of their sign if you want to look for them.


The third stop in Brookings was to the new location of the SDSU Dairy Bar which has expanded a lot since we were last there back in 2010.


They still sell both cheese and ice cream but we got the ice cream. I got chocolate marshmallow with dark chocolate with chocolate chips scoops.


On the way from Brookings to my hometown in Vinton, Iowa, on April 15, 2016, we stopped at one of our favorite rest stops, The Top of Iowa Welcome Center which looks like a barn and has two fully functioning levels.


Last time visited I wrote about the little cafe there but this time I found something chocolatey in the Barn Boutique, the gift shop of Iowa goods.


They had these chocolate covered sunflower seeds as well as caramels; the seeds are good but really more candy than chocolate covered.


No places that might have had chocolate were open in Vinton except the same places we've covered before. SIGH. Everytime we try to visit the frozen yogurt or that coffee house they are closed! So Vinton gets no chocolate lover other than to saw that I found different products in their local Fareway grocery shop than I've seen in my Kroger but I might talk about those in the future. On the way back we stopped at a Perkins (we love the chain, none in our town) and it turned out to be Free Pie Monday! I think this was a western side of Peoria. I got the French Silk Pie and hubby got the Peanut Butter Cream Pie that also had chocolate.


So those were our chocolatey finds along our Spring Visiting Family Trip 2016. What did we miss? What should we find the next time? Leave comments and let me know!

2 comments:

Emilie Johnson said...

What a great trip! I love hearing about all the small town chocolates!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Thanks, Emilie! If you know of any that I missed, let me know and maybe the next time we travel we can check it out.