Resembling a streetscape from Paris, there’s a fine sheen on the sidewalk from an early November rain. The St. Louis neighborhood known as the Central West End is oh, so stylish, a mix of old money and well-to-do urban professionals with just enough grit to keep it from getting too full of itself.
On this day, pedestrians pass up and down the pavement that is lined with boutiques, trees, and cafés. I’m heading for Handcrafted by Bissinger’s (32 Maryland Plaza), a café and wine bar that also offers Bissinger’s award-winning chocolates. I order a mini cococcino (flourless chocolate cake), a chocolate truffle, and a Mayan mocha latte. I’ve entered chocolate nirvana.
Missouri, a state known for beer and barbecue, jazz and blues, also is a chocolate lover’s ideal getaway.
UNWRAP A GETAWAY IN KANSAS CITY
It’s an unexpected surprise to find one of the country’s leading chocolatiers in a city known for its barbecue and jazz, but unexpected surprises help to define Kansas City. Travel to the Missouri/Kansas border and you’ll find a city with a vibrant culinary scene, diverse artistic offerings, and welcoming hospitality.
Kansas City’s sweet tooth is deliciously layered with European influences, trailblazing ingenuity, and the good old American attitude of “let’s get this done.” Award-winning chocolatier Christopher Elbow is a wonderful example of what is oh, so right about KC’s chocolate scene.
After working the Las Vegas food industry, Elbow returned home to create his artistic chocolate that’s almost too beautiful to eat.
In his retail location (1819 McGee St.), Elbow said he draws from his savory cooking experience to create the unusual flavor profiles for his chocolates. One of these savory-with-sweet flavors features caramel infused with fresh rosemary enrobed in a dark chocolate shell that’s beautifully molded and colored a vibrant green. Truffles are kissed with Kansas City-distilled whiskey or aged balsamic vinegar.
In the Country Club Plaza area, Panache Chocolatier offers local favorites such as Choco Poppo and a line of wonderful handmade chocolate truffles. Nearby, Andre’s Confiserie Suisse, a family-owned business, has tempted Kansas City residents and visitors with mouth-watering chocolates and pastries for more than 50 years.
For a romantic inn infused with chocolate flavors, the perfect choice is Southmoreland on the Plaza. Its outstanding food service includes chocolate waffles, pixie chocolate cookies at night, chocolate zucchini bread, and more. Book the Russell and Clara Stover room and receive a box of Stover chocolates as part of turndown service.