While we just had a marvelous cruise vacation several weeks ago, Justin and I still wanted to do something a bit special for our anniversary. Since we really liked the Hyatt Place in Madison and Justin had to do some work for Wisconsin Payments this morning in the area, we decided to drive down yesterday and enjoy a quick get-away.
We arrived in Madison around lunch, and based on the rave review from a friend, we decided to check out La Baquette, a little cafe and bakery near West Towne Mall. We weren’t disappointed in the least. We each enjoyed a Ciabatta roll and a cup of very tasty soup (Justin had French Onion, I tried the Tomato Basil). While the soup was delicious, the bread really shines here. While I didn’t feel the rolls we had qualified as true ciabatta, we both agreed we didn’t really care. Whatever it was going to be called, it was dang good bread.
We made a couple quick stops, then headed downtown and checked into the hotel. We relaxed and hung out for a little bit, then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Capital Square and State Street. It was a much quieter, relaxed afternoon than the last time we visited in February!
We happened upon a small, nondescript shop called Candinas Chocolatier and decided to check it out. Truly, it was the most unique chocolate shop we’ve ever been in. There were no chocolates to be seen! It looked much more like an uber-private jewelry store, such that you have to prove your net worth before they’ll actually show you any diamonds. A young store clerk came from the back and explained about the high quality of their chocolates and truffles, where they are made, etc. We were a bit intrigued, and so we asked to see a smaller box of the sweets.
These truly were beautiful, impeccable chocolates, and the flavor descriptions were decadent. We walked out of the store with our little bag in hand, and after 250 feet Justin insisted we try the first one. We found a bench and chose the Milk Chocolate Hazelnut truffle. Justin took a bite of half of it, and almost tipped over backward. And after I ate the other half, it was with ever ounce of self control that we didn’t immediately walk back into the store and buy a 36-count box! These were by far the best chocolates we had ever tasted in our lives. Definitely didn’t have to worry about finding any toothpaste (skip to 3:40) in these chocolates – every one was like hitting the jackpot!
We stopped back at the hotel and dropped off the becoming-lighter-by-the-minute chocolate box and then headed out a bit later for dinner at Harvest. We would highly recommend this little spot, but probably wouldn’t spring for dessert here again. While the appetizers and entrees were fantastic, and the desserts were very good, the chocolate hazelnut cake didn’t taste much different than my own chocolate cupcake, simply with hazelnuts added, turned upside down and drizzled with chocolate. Now, mind you, I like my chocolate cupcakes and enjoyed it, but you can easily stop by my shop and pick one up on a Saturday morning for two dollars, rather than spending $7 at the restaurant!
We headed home this morning, ran some errands, and unpacked when we arrived back. And the rest of the chocolates didn’t last for more than 5 minutes. A very happy, and delicious, way to celebrate the nine years we’ve been married.