On your next quick city escape, instead of trying to cram a lot into a little weekend, consider taking a small bite out of life with one (or more) of these eight chocolate-themed getaways near Manhattan.
From body scrubs to factory tours to hotel packages and an all-you-can-eat chocolate extravaganza, these desserty destinations are full of rewarding fun and heart-healthy antioxidants. Each event is as close as the 7 train and as far away as three hours—and as usual, all accessible without a car.
What: Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory Tour
Where: 105A North 3rd Street, Williamsburg
When: Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.
Why: The Mast Brothers are the only bean-to-bar chocolate makers in NYC. Learn how it all happens in a tour and tasting at their Brooklyn factory for the bargain price of $9.99. You will see the entire chocolate making process, from sifting the cacao beans to conching. Sample five distinct house-made products before purchasing your favorite at the tasting room.
How to get there: L train to Bedford Street Station, a short walk to North 3rd and Berry Street.
What: The Langham Boston Chocolate Bar
Where: 250 Franklin Street, Boston, MA.
When: Saturday 11a.m.- 3p.m., September-June
Why: Indulge your sweeter side at this all-you-can-eat chocolate extravaganza. The theme for this brunch changes each year, and this year it’s the five elements of taste. That means your palate will be ablaze, sampling chocolate delights that are salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savory, all artfully displayed. Whether it’s a classic flourless chocolate cake you crave, or a more avant-garde presentation, like a banana-bacon-chocolate-crusted meringue tart, you will not be disappointed by this eye-popping, mouth-watering buffet. All this, to the sound of live music, costs $40 per adult. If you choose to stay the night, The Langham is a treat of a hotel, so inquire about packages that include the Chocolate Bar when you book.
How to get there: Consult oM’s Public Transportation guide to Boston. The Langham is only a few minutes walk from Boston’s South Station.
So-simple, Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together sugar and peanut butter. Mix in egg. Form into walnut-sized balls. Space about 2″ apart on cookie sheet and press down a little to flatten slightly. Take your high quality chocolate chunks and press into the center of the cookie so it sticks out.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly soft but set. Let cool on racks. They are almost candy-like, chewy and moist with a great burst of chocolate!
Makes about two dozen cookies.
What: The Chocolate Room
Where: 86 Fifth Ave., Park Slope; 269 Court Street, Cobble Hill
When: Open daily, from noon to 11p.m., ’til midnight Fri & Sat
Why: This ultra-popular Brooklyn café is a chocolate lover’s paradise and an excellent place to celebrate chocolate’s favorite holiday. Look for the chef to create some scrumptious special items to grace the Valentine’s Day menu, no reservations necessary, but expect crowds.
How to get there: The Park Slope branch is convenient to the Atlantic Ave., Bergen Street, Pacific Street and 7th Avenue at Flatbush subway stops. The Cobble Hill location is near the Carroll Street or Bergen Street stops.
What: The Chocolate Lover’s Package at the Scranton Seahorse Inn
Where: 818 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT
When: Nightly, call or check the website for availability
Why: This intimate seven-room inn is located in the heart of pristine all-American Madison, walking distance to beaches, restaurants and high-end shops. The Chocolate Lovers Package includes a one night stay for two, breakfast with some special chocolate goodies in the morning, house-made chocolate truffles, a gourmet cheese plate and a DVD of the movie “Like Water for Chocolate” yours to view in your room and take with you when you check out. Prices start at $170.
How to get there: Metro-North to New Haven’s Union Station, where you will switch to the Shoreline East to Madison. The Inn is located 2 ½ blocks from the train station. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle, book when you reserve. Total trip time is two hours.
What: Chocolate Massage
Where: Body by Brooklyn Spa and Lounge, 275 Park Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
When: Open daily
Why: Who could ever believe that a place of such peace and tranquility lies so close to the traffic and headaches of the BQE? This former chocolate factory is now home to a full-service, amenity-loaded spa. You will want to schedule the entire day to fully appreciate the Russian Sauna and Hydrotherapy Wet Lounge, before hunkering down for the ultimate luxury of a Chocolate Massage. Warm, chocolate-infused products will be ground, rubbed and smoothed on your deserving body, making you feel like a prized bon-bon.
How to get there: The G train to Clinton-Washington Ave. It is a fairly dreary 10-minute walk north on Washington Avenue until you arrive at the spa. An alternative is to take one of the many trains that go to the Jay St. Metro Tech subway station and switch to the B57 Bus, which drops you a block from the spa.
What: JoMart Chocolates Life Tastes Better with Chocolate-Private Workshop
Where: 2917 Ave. R, Marine Park, Brooklyn
When: Call 718.375.1277 to schedule
Why: You know how to eat it, now learn how to make it in this two-and-a-half-to-three-hour private class taught by a third generation confectioner. Customized Private Workshops include a soupçon of history and a mouth-watering tasting, followed by a hands-on lesson covering subjects from tempering to truffle making, tailored to your specifications. For $375, this might just be the date that wins the heart of your desired chocolate aficionado.
How to get there: Q or B to Kings Highway Station, a 10-minute walk from JoMart.
What: Chocolate-Covered February
Where: Hershey, PA.
When: Special activities and events are scheduled during the month of February
Why: Known as The Sweetest Place on Earth, February is the time for chocoholics to converge here. Special events include Chocolate and Spirits Pairings Classes, Create Your Own Candy Bar, and a Chocolate-Infused Themed Dinner. The Spa At the Hotel Hershey has a fabulous menu of chocolate treatments year-round, including a Whipped Cocoa Bath and a Chocolate Sugar Scrub. The Hershey Lodge and the elegant Hotel Hershey offer special packages all month.
How to get there: Amtrak has more than half a dozen daily trains departing from Penn Station that will get you to Harrisburg, PA. in just over 3 hours. The train station is a 15-minute cab ride from Hershey, but if you are staying overnight, both The Hotel Hershey (717.533.2171) and the Hershey Lodge (717.533.3311) offer a shuttle service for $25 per adult, free for kids up to 18 years of age.
What: The Art of Chocolate Technique Class
Where: Antoinette Chocolatier, 87 South Main Street, Phillipsburg, NJ
When: Check the site for upcoming classes
Why: Spend the day at this cozy, homespun chocolate shop, learning a variety of techniques from the inspirational owner Antoinette, including tempering, truffle making, and hand painting. The class mixes demonstrations with hands-on experience. Lunch is included in the $125 fee. Give yourself time to explore this adorable town, full of quaint stores and restaurants, before catching the bus home.
How to get there: Trans-Bridge Lines bus from Port Authority to the Phillipsburg Mall. Call Akab Taxis at 908- 454-3420 a few minutes before arriving, and they will pick you up and drive you to Antoinette’s in minutes for $8. The entire journey takes under two hours.