February 14 is nothing if not an excuse for a few small indulgences. Here are three we’re loving right now.
Local tonic, local cocktail cherries
If your Valentine enjoys a vodka or gin and tonic, you can now go local all the way. There’s a good bit of vodka and gin being made in the Atlanta area these days, but we were floored when we went to the Woodstock Farmers Market and met Sean Fagan of T. Dean Cocktail Provisions. He was serving mocktails with his Woodstock-made tonic syrup and garnishing them with his own cocktail cherries. No, you don’t have to buy bottles of tonic water. You can buy syrup and then mix up the tonic just when you need it. The syrup is bright and biting and delicious on its own. But with those cherries? Amazing. By the way, they make champagne mustard, too.
$12.50 per 8-ounce bottle of tonic syrup. $13.50 per 9-ounce jar of cocktail cherries. Available at the Saturday morning Woodstock Farmers Market, Dean’s Store on Main Street in Woodstock. and The Local Exchange on the Marietta Square. Cherries and mustard are available Findlay Rowe Boutique in Roswell. facebook.com/TDeanCocktailProvisions/.
Chocolate to spread
You have to smile when you think of a place named Chocolate Jelly Farms. We’re pretty sure they’re not growing chocolate there - cacao really not being a crop that grows in Summerville, Georgia. Turns out Betty and Dennie Lambert don’t grow chocolate jelly - they make dark chocolate spreads in flavors like spicy chocolate and Irish cream. The spreads are an adaptation of an old family recipe and use two kinds of chocolate. We happened upon a jar of their Cherry Rum Chocolate Gourmet Spread and fell in love. Open the jar and you definitely smell the rum; spoon up a taste and it’s rum and chocolate and little bits of cherry. We admit it. Spoon plus jar is the way we finished it off.
$8 per 9-ounce jar and $4 per 4-ounce jar. Available at the farm or online at chocolatejellyfarms.com.
Chocolate to nibble on
Jocelyn Gragg of JARDI Chocolates spends her days in her Chamblee shop dreaming up luscious combinations of chocolate and fruit, chocolate and spice, chocolate and nuts. Then she turns those dreams into two-bite confections, each chocolate made by hand (her hand) with decoration hand applied and fillings hand made. We tried her “Silly Love Songs” Valentine’s collection: “Burning Love” filled with honey creme brulee, “Bleeding Love” with blood orange caramel, “Flaming Love” filled with her take on Bananas Foster and “Forever Love” centered with a luxurious Luxardo cherry. Swoon worthy. You’ll never look at Valentine’s chocolates the same way.
$11 for a 4-piece box. Available at the Chamblee showroom, 3400 W. Hospital Avenue, unit 102, or online at jardichocolates.com.