Note: There's still time to enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Peterbrooke. Drawing is today, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. Click here for details.
So, how do you feel about chocolate-covered bacon? If you’re like me you probably wrinkled your nose at the thought. But if you’re like me, you’ll try just about anything. So when I was offered a sample of chocolate-covered bacon during a visit to the kitchen at Peterbrooke Chocolatier on Park Avenue, I sent the section of sweetened rasher under my wrinkled nose and into my mouth. Loved it. I’m not saying I’m going to start setting my breakfast table with a bottle of Hershey’s syrup, but I found the salty taste of the bacon quite complimentary to the sweetness and richness of the chocolate.
Finding fun combinations is one of the things Jami Wray enjoys most about owning the Winter Park franchise of the Jacksonville based chocolatier.
Good enough to eat: Jami Shoo is molded chocolate. Perfect for the chocoholic with a shoe fetish.
In fact, she thinks of herself as a big kid in a candy shop. She and her husband, Kevin, are often at the shop dipping things in chocolate or creating unusual molded objects of edible confection. Their latest sensation is a chocolate high heeled shoe that can be decorated to look like the real thing. Folks window shopping on the avenue do a double take as they’re passing by to make sure they’re looking at a chocolate shop and not a shoe store. (Wray calls it Jami Shoo, a play on Jimmy Choo.)
But despite the sweetened bacon (stop wrinkling your nose) and the palatable pumps, most people stop in for the chocolate covered popcorn and dipped pretzels, still the biggest sellers, says Wray. And, of course, you can also get just chocolate. You know, like a bite-able bar or some luscious truffles. Regardless of the form, you’ll surely appreciate the quality of the chocolate. That’s what sets Peterbrooke apart and keeps it from being a sweet little gimmick -- the high quality of its chocolate.
Peterbrooke was started in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville in 1983 by Phyllis Geiger, who named the business after her children, Peter and Brooke. Most of the franchises are in Florida, with one each in Georgia and Alabama. The Winter Park location has one unique distinction: half-namesake Peter Geiger worked in the store while attending Rollins College.
By the way, some other creations the Wrays are working on involve using flavored salts and herbs in and on chocolate, and they’ve partnered, in a way, with the guys at Spice and Tea Exchange up the road. Both businesses tout the other’s products. I love seeing that sort of community endorsement and cross-promotion. Everybody wins.
Keep Peterbrooke in mind as the holidays approach (and beyond, for that matter). Chocolate is always a lovely gift. And it’s always nice to bring home the bacon.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier is at 300 Park Ave. S., Winter Park.. It’s open daily. The phone number is 407-644-3200