Looking for a slice of Paris in the middle of west Michigan? Visit Patricia’s Chocolate at 126 Washington Avenue in downtown Grand Haven. The décor, the ambience, the packaging, and, of course, the chocolates are très French! From the tinkle of the bell when you open the door to the smell of chocolate wafting through the air, it’s a wonderful place to spend a little time.
Patty Christopher is a chocolatier extraordinaire creating exquisite preservative free, ganache-centered chocolates in the French style. Using local ingredients whenever possible, offering flavors like bleu cheese/roasted fig, mandarin ginger, raspberry Chambord, peaches and cream and fresh mint leaf, chocolate samples allow you to savor the goodness and help you decide which flavors you find most enticing.
Don’t hesitate to engage Patty, Paul or any of the staff in the shop in conversation about the origins of chocolate, how the goods are made and where they source the ingredients. You’ll learn a lot!
Patty and I first met on Mother’s Day weekend of 2015 at Art of the Table on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids when Steve and I paid our first visit to that establishment. In the back corner I spied someone wearing a white chef’s jacket (hmmm, now who could that be?), so we headed back and struck up a conversation with Patty and her husband Paul.
We soon discovered our mutual love of France, Paris, pastries and chocolates and our friendship was launched. And the fact that they had both been school psychologists before going full tilt into the chocolate business was almost eerie as I recalled my own transition from emergency medicine to pastry. Wow – small world!
So if you find yourself with a free afternoon, head out to Grand Haven for a taste of Paris. You’ll be glad you did.
Disclaimer: The French Tarte’s all butter shortbread cookies are baked and sold at Patricia’s Chocolate.
Posted by Susan VandenBerg, pâtissière
The French Tarte