Chocolatier Genie Ranck, who has been selling chocolate for 15 years and opened The Chocolate Spike in 2003, concocts handmade comfits with a treasury of creamy chocolate, salted caramel, fruity creams, and assorted nuts. Ranck's caramel-nut spikes are made with chocolate caramel and a rotation of nuts such as pecans or hazelnuts for a treat as sweet as a lamb complimenting a grandmother. Two of these sweetmeats snuggle in the favorites box with five different truffles, including a Peace Rose truffle, two sea-salt caramel, a milk chocolate, and an extra-dark chocolate. A piece of St. Maeve–stout fudge tells a fellow pomegranate-fudge square tales of its raucous weekend with a group of almonds, causing a nearby sweet orange-blossom cream to blush and whisper with a pair of triple-chocolate creams. An assortment of solid white, milk, and dark chocolates and nonpareils finish off the confectionery cluster, ready for hiding in a personal stash or gifting to a favorite telemarketer.
The quality products at Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op do more than nourish bodies—they also nourish the local community. The store's shelves and coolers feature vegetables grown without synthetic insecticides, humanely raised meats, organic dairy products, and farm-fresh eggs. It's all in keeping with the co-op's original mission (now in its fourth decade): provide the public with high-quality, nutritious foods, many of which are sourced from nearby farms.
Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op holds itself to the same strict standards as the farms it buys from, with an emphasis on sustainable farming practices such as efficient water usage and recycling. They even chose to invest their own time and overalls by purchasing Heritage Point Farm. The farm's 25 acres of land provides co-op shoppers with fresh salad greens, herbs, and all natural eggs.
Sweetie's tantalizes covetous taste buds with carefully crafted chocolate truffles, decadently dense cakes, and gift baskets that can turn a sworn enemy into a fumbling paramour. Eight delicately detailed truffles nestle in a tender red box waiting to be plucked from among their all-natural, handmade brethren and dropped onto the tongue of a beloved human or low-necked giraffe. Valentines with a penchant for keepsakes will coo over the collectable candy jar, which comes swollen with red-velvet cake and swirled with decorative ribbon. To ensure that the appropriate message is expressed, Sweetie's encloses a handmade Valentine's Day card, which can be personalized to express one's eternal love or share a one-sided knock-knock joke.
Staying true to the charming eatery’s moniker, Sunrise Cafe’s bright, yellow walls surround diners while they enjoy piping-hot cups of locally roasted brews and a rotating menu of decadent morning and afternoon eats. After perusing the chalkboard menus lining the eatery’s walls, patrons can order their pick-me-up of choice—such as an Almond Joy latte ($3.75) or Columbian coffee—to pair with a savory breakfast wrap of eggs, cheese, and homefries packed inside a flour tortilla ($7.49) instead of a pillow case. Sweet morning treats include a stack of french toast buried beneath a fluffy mound of whipped cream ($7.49) or a Sunrise belgian waffle dusted with fresh fruit ($7.49).
Fifth Season Gardening specializes in hydroponics, homebrewing, and organic gardening. Complete hydroponic systems can help hobbyists grow plants in any type of environment, and organic gardening supplies such as fertilizer and composters can maximize produce yields. Customers may also browse a wide selection of urban D.I.Y. products. Aside from serving as a go-to spot for garden items, Fifth Season Gardening boasts must-have supplies for homebrewers of all skill levels, from fresh hops and yeast, to cleaning accoutrements and educational books.