All About the Chocolate

When I first met with writer Laurie Prince back in March this year to talk about the chocolate feature in this month's issue, I wasn't sure it'd ever come to fruition. We'd spent half an afternoon sitting at Salara Dessert Lounge & Bistro in Ballantyne, sampling decadent cheesecakes and tortes while also brainstorming all the amazing ways to highlight chocolate. The flavors, the simplicity, the elegance. And where, of course, you could find some of the best to-go versions of this universal foodie staple. There were, as you can imagine, so many ways to highlight chocolate, hence my reservation about us finally nailing down just how to offer a taste, if you will, of chocolate in Charlotte to our readers.

What we eventually settled on was simplicity via a sampling of some of the most decadent yet relatively easy to make chocolate desserts from some of Charlotte’s top confectioners. A smooth chocolate torte from New South Kitchen is juxtaposed with savory chocolate cream cheese brownies from Mama Ricotta’s. A simple chocolate cake boasting Coca-Cola-infused frosting from Sugar Magnolia complements the rich flavor of Ilios Noche’s chocolate almond cookies. The best part of these desserts is that you can make them at home, allowing you to bring the flavors of each local restaurant straight into your kitchen sans the doggie bag.

Of course, chocolate isn’t the only thing you’ll find in this annual resource guide. There are hundreds of home-service listings — from interior designers and kitchen and bath purveyors to stationers and landscape contractors — that our team of editors and writers amassed over the past year. It’s the most extensive collection of home and design listings in Charlotte.

As always, we enjoy and welcome your feedback. If there’s something that’s missing in this issue or a topic you feel warrants coverage in Home & Garden, please e-mail me at blake.miller@charlottemagazine.com.