Last Fall I attended an event and during the silent auction I bid on something I had recently heard about and was curious about, “Maine Foodie Tours.” It was for a two-hour Chocolate Walking Tour in Portland’s Old Port, for two people. Yahoo!!!! I WON!!!! www.mainefoodietours.com
I booked myself and my favorite sister-in-law for a Saturday afternoon, which turned out to be a perfect Maine August day. We met our very knowledgeable foodie enthusiast tour guide (Pat) at a shop called Vervacios and began our most excellent afternoon of chocolate exploration. It was a small group of 7 women-all well traveled and foodie oriented.
Vervacious is a great little shop set up by a husband and wife team that had tossed aside the corporate life to travel the world by sailboat and explore all sorts of adventures, including foods of the world. They are living out their entrepreneurial dream in Portland’s OldPort. www.vervacious.com
I was trying to listen to Pat about the history of cocoa, but I was so distracted by the chocolate food and drink sitting in front of me. We tasted fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate balsamic vinegar-the chocolate was smooth and the tang of the balsamic was subtle. The store has tasters set out for you, and will let you taste any of their products.
We drank a blend of Aztec & Vanilla hot chocolate powders mixed with cold milk and ice shavings. This chilled rich chocolate drink was served in a wine glass. As I sipped and swallowed, it gave the back of my throat a spark of heat – making me crave a little more. Sweet + Spark = Nice!
Lastly, we tasted truffles by Sweet Marguerites. Boy, I thought to myself, this is gonna’ be one sweet tour with such a great start! The truffles were beautiful and chocolatey delicious! Check out Marguerite. www.sweetmarguerites.com
Pat also mentioned Dean’s Sweets. Their artisanal chocolates are all hand dipped. I’ve experienced their dark chocolate coated caramel with sea salt..Wow! Check out Dean’s-they are also in the OldPort. www.deanssweets.com
Next stop, East End Cupcake for our choice of cupcake.
I ordered a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel butter cream frosting. It was the best frosting I’ve ever had. It felt like velvet sliding over my tongue with just the right hint of caramel and salt blending into ecstasy. I can’t recall what Pat our tour guide was telling us, but I think it had something to do with the frosting process. I was in the throws of chocolate love. www.eastendcupcake.com
Next stop, was just next door-The Old Port Candy Company. We got to choose our own personal taste flavor of their award winning fudge. I chose chocolate toffee crunch. I took a small bite…as Pat, our wonderful tour guide, was trying to explain something to us about the different percentages of cocoa used in chocolate bars.. and how ten years ago we didn’t think about the percent… and how the percent is on most bars that are used in baking as well as eating….and…
I really was trying to pay attention, but I was getting glassy-eyed and feeling a chocolate coma coming on. My sister-in-law was becoming concerned by the expression on my face. Some in the group were handing me their slice of fudge to finish off or hold for them…Why?? Did I really look like I needed more chocolate? Go to www.oldportcandycompany.com.
Next stop, Go Berry – just across the street. More chocolate for us to taste, this time non-sweetened in the form of chocolate nibs. The nibs were served on a very fresh plain frozen yogurt that was tangy, not sweet. We felt special because the nibs are for the chocolate tours only, not for the general public. They have other flavors and toppings to satisfy. The coolness of the yogurt refreshed me. It was a wonderful flavor combination and very low in calories. Like…I was counting calories at that point! www.goberryme.com
Next stop was….and thank goodness we had to walk up hill to walk off some of these crazy calories accruing…the Stonewall Kitchen store. I’ll let the picture do the talking. www.stonewallkitchen.com
Last stop, the Armory Lounge located in the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa. The atmosphere of the lounge was welcoming and elegant with dark wood and smoky mirrors. The final chocolate tasting was a chocolate martini that was rich and flavorful. The fine chocolate powder on the rim of the glass added to the sensual sensation I felt as I sipped this cool high powered martini.
I was swooning by this point and then realized as I looked around the lounge…chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Lordy, calm yourself Susan! I recalled reading that the great Aztec leader, Montezuma, consumed copious amounts of the cocoa bean to fuel his romantic interludes. The sensuous martini was a spectacular way to end the tour! www.theregency.com
Pat was a terrific tour guide. She is passionate about food and travel. Our small group was a great mix of visitors to Maine and locals. It was fun meeting new people and participating in a foodie adventure. I was right-the tour was one fine sweet tour with a great beginning and spectacular ending!
Maine Foodie Tours offer several styles of tours, walking, trolley or boat, in Portland’s OldPort and Kennebunkport. They offer a real educational and fun-filled Maine food experience. Check them out-tell them Susan sent you! www.mainefoodietours.com