The holiday seasons are approaching, the temperatures are dropping, and the amount of celebrating to be had is greatly anticipated. We think of gifts, full-bodied wine, dark and flavorful beer, and comfort food to get us through the Central New York winter. However, one cannot leave out the treats.
In my opinion, as I am sure everyone feels the same way, chocolate and desserts are encouraged to be consumed every day of the year. Yet, these treats are enjoyably highlighted during the cooler months.
Sweet on Chocolate is Syracuse’s essential one-stop-shop for handmade gourmet chocolates. The truffles, various chocolate-coated treats, and the blanketed potato chips greet you as you step into the door. The next steps are having to decide what to pick up for friends, family, or that special someone you are buying for. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself picking out something for your own consumption. It happens, and it’s a guilt-free decision.
For less than 10 dollars, one can pick up a box of six truffles. I could have picked through the covered pretzels, fudge, bars, and various covered Oreos; however, I went for what greeted me as I walked in. There were at least 15 varieties of truffles, but my quick decision lead me to: black raspberry, pumpkin, amaretto, Bailey’s, hazelnut, and orange.
For those who know me, I am not a big fan of fruit-filled/fruit-flavored anything. Most of the time, chocolates and candies have this fake or overdone fruit flavor. These truffles do not. The dark chocolate shell contains a rich, creamy fill that will not overwhelm the taste buds. I tried both the orange and black raspberry, and they were both fantastic. Check out the black raspberry truffle.
Sweet on Chocolate can be found at 208 Walton Street, and it is easy to access. Parking is available in lots and on the street. If you aren’t parking near Armory Square, it is a short walking distance from any downtown landmark. Sweet on Chocolate is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the hours begin at 10 a.m. through 5 and 6 (Fridays and Saturdays).
What if you cannot get to Sweet on Chocolate on time, and your chocolate/dessert fix cannot wait for the next day? Don’t fret! Bittersweet of Syracuse is right up the road at 121 Fayette Street, three doors down from the corner of Clinton Street. Cannot find a spot around Armory? As previously stated, Bittersweet is a quick walk from any nook of Downtown Syracuse.
Walking into Bittersweet, patrons are greeted warmly, but it is not a temperature-related comfort. The dim lighting and hand-designed décor along with the assorted relaxing music of Nora Jones and Jack Johnson among others can put any mind at ease. Bittersweet, the specific aim of owner Patrizia Barbieri, specializes in a variety of homemade desserts, and boasts wine from around the world, ranging from full-bodied reds to rosés to sweet whites. Guys, are you not into wines? Let loose a little bit and try something, because you may like it. If not, Bittersweet offers a variety of bottled beer and New York brews on draft. Currently on tap: Brooklyn, Empire Brewing Company, and Ommegang.
Not in the mood for an adult beverage? Bittersweet offers milk, fountain drinks, milkshakes, teas, and a variety of caffeinated specialties.
The menu is concise; it will be hard to make a decision on what you want to eat, but you will not be overwhelmed with pages and pages of wine and food. If you haven’t had a chance to eat dinner, the beginning of the menu booklet offers a handful of Panini choices and the option to create your own, which are accompanied by the crispiest of chips and a pickle. I created my own: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette to top everything off. The following page offers specialty salads.
Dessert time! The two pages of homemade everything, generously-sized desserts will contain items to satisfy more than one of your sweet teeth. You may think you’ll want to share, but you will change your mind. Since I could not decide for the life of me on what to opt for, I had to ask others on their preferences. I was told to go for the Tiramisu, which is described as “an Italian classic with a twist.” I was asked to opt for the crèmé brulée. This gluten-free treat has been getting rave reviews, stating Bittersweet’s is one of the best brulées in Central New York.
However, the Gimme S’more! caught my eye. This built-from-scratch dessert sat proudly confident in the middle of my plate. The chocolate drizzle did not intimidate the tower enough to fall. I know it is against the rules to eat the contents separately, but I had to give this dessert justice. The graham cracker was soft, easy to cut through and it did not crumble apart. As chocolate mousse should be, the light and silky texture resonated rich flavor upon my tongue. Perfectly toasted, the marshmallow was the best part: gooey, tasty, and impressively home-made. When each part was consumed all at once:
Ladies, Bittersweet has everything you can ask for when it comes to a girls’ night out. Gents, do you want a perfect date night? Bittersweet is the place to go. Because of the casual atmosphere and its reasonably-priced menu, you’ll be wanting to come back for more.
Have I convinced you yet?