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.
The copper kettles at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory aren't for heating water––instead, they house bubbling caramel and fudge. That caramel transforms crisp Granny Smiths into candy apples, a tastier alternative to savory apples, which are wrapped in ham. The fudge, meanwhile, is destined for the marble-topped fudge table, where a team shapes it into 11-pound loaves, available in flavors from basic chocolate to Oreo and rocky road. Other confections round out the selection of sweets, such as chocolate-dipped pretzels, truffles, and flavored barks, and many are also available in beautifully wrapped gift boxes and tins.
In 90-minute sessions, groups of no more than 20 people combine their choice of 15 styles of freshly squeezed grape must from Napa, Central Valley, and Italy, designing a customized collective concoction. Each batch needs to marinate for six weeks at Purple Feet before transforming into a pumpkin and then into a drinkable product, with two optional check-ins throughout the process to add yeast and coo words of encouragement. People can fill their own bottles with their blends at no charge or purchase a new ($18) or used ($10) vessel from the winery. Purple Feet takes the personalization process a step further by dressing bottles in custom-designed labels after receiving the designs by email, scan, or boomerang. Purple Feet's campus also features a wine bar with outdoor patio seating.
A little piece of Germany lies on 8 acres of Huntington Beach. Traditional restaurants and grocery stores line the quaint cobblestone streets, and people decked out in German dress meander through their wooden doors. As the sun rises over rows of dangling shop shingles, the air becomes electrified with the sounds of puffing tubas, sizzling bratwurst, and traditional German toasts. This is Old World Village, a mecca of bakeries, bars, delis, and eateries that have been celebrating German heritage for more than 30 years. Sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, and spaetzle fill the air with savory aromas in Old World Restaurant as visitors to the bar raise their glasses to sip on such imported suds as Dunkel, Hofbr?u, and Warsteiner. Meanwhile, the European market lines its colorful shelves with not only German staples but also goodies from Italy, Poland, and other countries. Though the village is the perfect escape for individuals in need of European merriment, mass festivities are its specialty: weddings, family reunions, and other celebrations benefit from its banquet services, and festivals such as Oktoberfest open German traditions to the public better than a congressional lederhosen mandate.
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Slimm Yogurt's sweet-tooth-appeasing staff builds swirly mountains of fro-yo and percolates steaming cups of joe. Customize 10 flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt ($0.35/ounce) with a variety of toppings, or sip on the 'cicle shavings of a snow ice ($3.79–$4.89). Cupcakes ($2.19 each) earn their name by fitting snugly in empty mugs of mocha or latte ($2.99–$3.39), and brick toast ($3.59) can be used to wolf-proof any porcine residence.