Feb 3, 2018
by Tina Castelli
Windsor has everything you need to make your Valentine smile. Everyone knows about all the wonderful things Windsor offers for children with a thriving Parks & Recreation Dept., 27 public parks with playgrounds and fantastic schools that offer loads of extra-curricular activities. This year for Valentines check out all the things we have for that special someone in your life.
Beer, Wine and Spirits to stimulate the senses: South Windsor off Bell Rd. has become a neighborhood of wineries, breweries and distilleries offering a gift that will start the party – Vodkas & Bourbon from Sonoma Brothers Distilling, Ales from St. Florian’s Brewery, Hard Ciders from Tilted Shed Ciderworks and artisan wines from Two Sheperds Winery. Less than a mile away in Old Downtown Windsor there are a few more, why not make a tasting day of it – taste beers from Old Redwood Brewing Company at Tasting Room on the Green including local favorites, Deaux Amis Wines and wines and gifts for Dog Lovers at Mutt Lynch Winery.
Are flowers what she wants most? Visit Atrellis Flower & Gift Shop on the Windsor Town Green. Stop in and say hi to new owner, Jeanne Vallerga. She can accommodate your order of a dozen roses, a custom Valentine arrangements and the perfect gift to go along with it. Call ahead and order for delivery, but do it early, as Valentines is the busiest day of the year for florists. You can find them online atrellis.com.
While on the Town Green make your reservations for a wonderful dinner at one of the many Pacific Rim restaurants. Share a bowl of drunken noodles at Tomi Thai Restaurant, Lamb and curries from The Himalayan Restaurant, the short ribs at Zagat rated, Chinois and a wide array of Asian favorites at Saigon Bistro. My favorite, the BBQ Pork or Chicken Spring rolls with Peanut Sauce.
Everybody loves Chocolate! It was almost a year ago when local Chefs Jeff and Susan Mall opened their Volo Chocolates facility in Windsor in the Shiloh Business Park which has become a mecca for local gourmet food producers, located behind Home Depot in South Windsor. After selling their successful ZIN Restaurant in Healdsburg a few years ago they temporarily relocated to Mexico to develop menus for several restaurants and an organic garden located at a luxury resort. While there they fell in love with Mexican chocolates and started making their own for family and friends. When they returned to their Healdsburg home in the summer of 2016 they brought a box of their homemade dark chocolates to a party at a friend’s home. They received orders that very night and have never looked back. They incorporated in October of 2016 and built their facility in Windsor on March 3rd, 2017.
“We created our chocolates as Chefs instead of candy makers.” said Jeff.
Blending with savory ingredients like chilies and sea salt, Volo Chocolates aren’t as sweet as most chocolates you may have tasted. They start with Cacao beans from Guatemala and Haiti and they create their signature Mexican profile with a secret blend of house seasonings including sea salt and cinnamon.
Beans, Sugar and Cocoa Powder are first processed in a grinder for 3 days or more. That’s 24/7 for 3 days! Then the chocolate goes into the temper machine where it is transformed into a chocolate that cools into a smooth shiny finish.
The whole process is done by the Malls and their single employee, Elena Nau, who was their pastry chef at ZIN Restaurant. Elena was making the Zin Wine Jelly Bonbons while I was there for their new Box of 12 different Bonbons they will be offering for Valentine’s. The box will include flavors like Bourbon Caramel Pecan, Meyer Lemon, Almond Toffee, Dulce de Leche, Hazelnut, Ginger/Tangerine, Smores with charred marshmallow and Maple Candied Walnut which is made with cream added to the dark chocolate to make a creamed chocolate. Is your mouth watering yet?
Where can you get these fabulous chocolates you ask? Big John’s Market, SHED and Dry Creek Vineyards in Healdsburg, all Oliver’s Markets (look for them in the cheese department) and at St. Francis Winery and Osmosis Day Spa. But, this year for Valentine’s they will be holding a special “Pop Up Chocolate Tent” at their factory, 399 Business Park Court, Ste. 515 on Saturday only, February 10th from 11:00 to 3:00. You can also purchase the bars online atvolochocolate.com
Most importantly Valentine’s Day is a time to be kind to each other and do something special for those we love. Bon Apetit!
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