Let there be chocolate


Let’s just say you bumped into me here in Williamsburg, Merchants Square to be exact, and asked me to point you in the direction of a good café, one with decadent chocolate desserts, quiet corners, and intriguing art, one where a person could spend time reading, have a coffee with friends, or find the perfect gift. I would have to pause and wonder to where I would lead you. It’s a good question to sort.

“…there were no problems except where to be happiest.” Ernest Hemingway

I like Tatie, as Hadley had called him, he knew the problem of too many happy places while living in Paris.  The same is true for me here at Manderley. So many good and happy places.  But we have to sort the question of the good chocolate, so come along with me in my little town and I will show you a chocolate good time.

Do you meander? Good, because that’s what we’ll be doing, meandering. Our first stop is MAD about Chocolate on Armistead Ave. only two short blocks from Merchants Square. Before opening the door to the shop, breathe out, open the door and take a deep breath in. Heaven, at least that is what I would think heaven would smell like: chocolate.  Chef Desaulniers, best known for his “Death by Chocolate” desserts,  TV cooking shows, and award winning books, along with his wife Connie, own MAD. Connie’s art is showcased throughout the gallery style shop of bright colors, festive tables, and comfy pillows, while Marcel’s chocolate creations are fresh and ready for tasting.



It’s always difficult to choose which chocolate treat to enjoy, so why not order a sampling. This time I shared with some friends, the Golly Polly Doodles- a chocolate cookie ball filled with peanut butter, a Black Mamba Cookie, and Double MAD Brownie.  One friend washed hers all down with the chilled sipping chocolate all served up in a little white pitcher- so cute, and delicious.  Books, treats, and other gifts are for sale for unique giving any time of year.

Ready to meander some more?


A gentle walk down Prince George St. to the Blue Talon Bistro will be your spot for a sunny seat to read and sip and savor. The big windows bring in plenty of light into their beautiful and colorful dining room, and if you ever look up from your book above the Zinc Bar, you will see Julia Child’s cooking shows streamed 24/7.  Can you spot the playing card tucked somewhere obscure?  If you can’t find it, ask your server where it is and it’s meaning. The dessert menu will tempt you to try many treats, but since it is your first time you must experience the chocolate mousse. The server will bring you a chilled bowl of ganache and sliced strawberries, and out of this big and magical  white terrine will start spooning huge fluffy chocolate clouds into your bowl, and will pretty much continue spooning until you say, “when.” It is the best chocolate ritual ever.


Now because you are there reading your favorite novel out of a real book made with paper, you must sip, and sip something hot and sinful.   Blue Talon’s Hot Chocolate with homemade marshmallows in the steel cups is a must. No need to steal the cups, they sell them at our next stop, the Blackbird Bakery.  Trust me, you will want one of these cups as they keep hot things hot forever. My new favorite gift to give.

Ready to stroll or roll?


Follow along as we travel past a few shops to the entrance of the breezeway that leads to Merchants Square for a visit to our sweet and precious little bakery. The Blackbird Bakery is so cute and filled to the brim with all kinds of deliciousness from fresh baked breads and  pastries to the richest chocolate brownies.  Please click on the photo above and see if you can spy the blackbird.  Cute huh?  Grab a pain au chocolate and a brownie, along with a cup of Illy coffee and you will be flyigh high for the rest of the day.  Plenty of gifts in here too!

Now it is up to you to decide where to be happiest.

These are a few of my Hometown Hidden Gems written in cahoots with RelayRides, a very inventive and ingenious business set up for you to  rent local cars, or even rent out your own car. With innovative peer-to-peer economy that is happening all around us, we are finding that we can almost share just about anything from our homes, meals, and now our cars. This is such a cool idea!  Now I must find the perfect ride for my SUP race board. Smirk.  If you are ever in need of a car, check them out, if you are in need of chocolate, well, I think you know where to go now.


  1. Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    I love your happy places. I have found mine also where I live. It has been a pleasure catching up with you since you moved. So glad the adjustment is getting easier.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted September 19, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

      Thank you Penny!

  2. Sharon
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    You ought to get paid by the Williamsburg tourism department! Or, at least get free treats from these businesses! Yum-o-licisous! ~Sharon

    • Robin Sue
      Posted September 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      Even without the free treats, I still love chatting about these places any day! So much fun!

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