Maurie’s forges edible chocolate masterpieces with gourmet ingredients from Ghana, Guatemala, and other faraway lands along with local organic creameries. In accordance with a carefully guarded family recipe, each succulent morsel is designed to delight the eyeballs and smack tasters with the full force of spice-, fruit-, and nut-empowered chocolate. The Spring Fling box fills mouths with cocoa-based delicacies such as dark-chocolate truffles with balsamic or lemon-cardamom infusions, local cranberries clothed in chocolate, or chocolate-covered almonds (warning: contains almonds).
Fit 2 Eat’s quaint, 13-seat dining area creates a homey, wood-adorned atmosphere that accommodates both friendly chats and romantic arm-wrestling competitions. In addition to low-fat, reduced-sodium meals, Fit 2 Eat bakes a bevy of seasonal treats, including fruitcake for Christmas, macaroon fudge bars for Passover, and fresh challah bread every Friday.
The Madison Pub Club card works like magic. With a power similar to that of a hypnotist’s watch or the key to Detroit Rock City, the card only needs to be waved in front of bartenders at six participating bars to receive a two-for-one special on any one item $6 in value or less. The card can be used once per day, every day at each bar, totaling a maximum of six free drinks every 24 hours. Though there are some restrictions in regards to time, four of the six bars accept it during all normal business hours.
Consistently voted Best of Madison in Madison Magazine and Madison's Favorite in Isthmus magazine, Steve's offers artisanal cheese, gourmet chocolates, and specialty meats. The University Ave. location is home to The Cheese Course, a specialty store-within-a-store offering local and obscure artisan cheeses lovingly hand-cut to order. Snag creamy Délice de Bourgogne triple cream ($16.49/lb.) and sharp Bob's 10-year cheddar ($18.49/lb.) along with Potter's organic artisan crackers ($4.50). Savory and sweet sauces and spreads include the quince and apple preserves ($5.49) and Kelly's Kitchen stuffed Peppadews ($4.99), while paper-thin prosciutto di Parma ($19.99/lb.) and frozen duck breasts ($16.49/lb.) are perfect for dinner, appetizers, or sharing with your second mouth. Steve's also offers velvety gourmet chocolates from local chocolatiers Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier and David Bacco Chocolats. The friendly staff will liberate your inner gourmand with helpful suggestions, and can also recommend wine and beer pairings.
Fresh Madison Market’s myriad departments pack carts with fresh-baked goodies, organic produce, and high-quality meats and seafood. The store prides itself on its large selection of organic produce—it partners with area farmers whenever possible to carry local harvests. Load up on prepared meals at the sushi bar, or head to the meat and seafood counter, which packages ready-to-cook items such as stuffed chicken breast and shish kebob with easy directions for cooking at home. Giant cupcakes made at the in-house bakery provide tasty ammo for slingshots. Fresh Madison Market’s walk-in cooler deheats a plethora of low-temp libations, including Wisconsin craft beers.
Though inspired by the northern California cafés of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan’s modern coffee drinkers—in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.