When faced with time off after graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University, Maggie DiMaggio took to baking cake after cake in her own kitchen. Seeing the potential in her baked treats, she soon began taking weekly pilgrimages to the Mandeville farmers' market to sell her cupcakes and fine breads. As the popularity of her creations grew, the special orders began pouring in—so many, in fact, that she had to open a storefront just to manage the demand.
That storefront soon evolved from its humble beginnings into The Chocolate Vine, a European-style bakery that also houses an intimate café. To foster a cozy, inviting atmosphere, Maggie furnishes the small eatery with tables and chairs from local antique stores and regularly applies a fresh coat of buttercream icing to the walls. When not crafting almond-, strawberry-, and chocolate-infused cakes , she cooks light lunches with fruits and vegetables from a local produce stand. Maggie also graciously opens up her wine cellar for regular tastings, during which guests sip on eight glasses of her finest reserves.
The Cove’s taste-bud-boggling array of single malts ensnares both walk-in connoisseurs and private-tasting aesthetes with its caramel-brown mouth velvet. Tasting attendees, in intimate groups no larger than 10, test-drive scotch from each of Scotland’s six producing regions in order to appreciate the peatiness of Islay’s elixir, the deep smokiness of Highlands’ quaffables, and the hair-turn handling of Speyside’s concoctions. Each tasting features a different set of six, plus one bonus scotch, drawn from The Cove’s laundry-list menu. While scotch enthusiasts savor their samples, a staff expert narrates the magical beverage’s rich history, explaining reasons for geographical differences and demonstrating the adhesiveness of the tape from which the drink takes its name. Tastings may be scheduled Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays starting at 7 p.m., and last an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the engagement of guests.