Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Ever since Liberato and Guiseppina Dell’Amura opened their small Wooster Street bakery in New Haven’s Little Italy in 1922, the business has stayed in the family. Son and daughter Fortunato and Mae—followed by granddaughters Jo-Ann, Dolores, Marie, and Leona and great grandson Salvatore—have all taken on the family tradition of baking cookies, biscotti, and traditional Italian pastries daily.
In-store cases and trays are filled with traditional pastries such as cannoli, bigne donuts, and éclairs. The team can also wrap, box, and ship assortments of 24 types of Italian cookies and nine flavors of biscotti, as well as treats such as chocolate-dipped caramel apples, pretzels, and marshmallow pops. The team also hand-decorates sugar cookies in shapes such as shirts, shoes, and crowns in case an emperor is celebrating the first time he wore clothes.
At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
Delivered off the docks of the Northeast coast, the fresh fish sold at Fishtales Seafood Company is picked up from local fishermen each morning at 3 a.m. The fish is seasonal and local as much as possible and includes bluefin tuna, lemon sole, and live lobsters—sold raw or fried or grilled for on-the-go meals. In addition to serving fresh catch-of-the-day specials, Fishtales also offers delivery seven days a week for wholesale customers and dolphins who’ve been really good boys.
Fascia’s Chocolate began nearly 50 years ago as a family endeavor and it remains so today, whipping up white, milk, and dark-chocolate delights in small batches using a superior Swiss-style chocolate. Sink saccharine-seeking teeth into traditionally salty snacks made sweet, such as chocolate-covered potato chips and pretzels ($7.95+), while assorted truffles and cordial cherries make easy friends with even the most standoffish of taste buds ($16.95 for 8 oz.; $29.95 for 16 oz.). For a classic romantic gesture, pick up a medley of milk and dark-chocolate morsels in varied shapes and designs, some stuffed with timeless fillers such as caramel, nuts, creams, and more ($13.95 for a 15-piece box; $24.95 for 32-pieces), or, for truly special relationships, like the one between an irresponsible driver and a bribable parking enforcement official, are strengthened with a gift of specialty Fascia’s goodies, such as pecan turtles, truffle meltaways, and buttercrunch toffee ($14.95 for 8 oz.; $26.95 for 16 oz.). Moms deserve edible recognition with chocolate-dipped strawberries, especially on May 8, a holiday known to sneak up until it’s too late to get anything but a lame greeting card and a pet rock for the woman who brought you into this world ($19.95 for eight-piece box).