When topological surveys uncovered a richly flowing chocolate vein under Saratoga, a sure-footed band of chocolatiers set to work building a premium confectionarium on site. Wielding the united powers of local dairy and additive-free ingredients, these visionaries spawned a full line of noteworthy artistic chocolates that will remind your eyes what it's like to have taste buds and your mouth to have eyes. Stroll through an indulgent selection of truffles, bonbons, bars, and more, from sea-salted caramels ($8 for a box of four) to 12-piece assorted gift boxes ($23.50), and a mish-mash of exquisite apricot caramels, mint mojito bites, chili-spiced truffles, pumpkin-pie truffles, and more.
Powell's serves up freshly scooped servings shipped straight from Caffe Classico, a San Francisco–born gelatocatessen with truckloads of handcrafted Italian flavors. Although Powell's menu rotates, on any given day, 24 flavors will be on display from an extensive back catalogue comprised of 36 gelatos classicos (creamy, rich, Italian-style ice cream), seven sorbetto classicos (fat-free, dairy-free treat comprised of up to 90% fresh, imported fruit and up to 10% bee's knees), and six Belizza sorbets (low-fat, dairy-free, sadness-free superfruit purees rich in antioxidants). All sweet creations come coolly served in anything from a child's cup ($2.99) to an adult regular ($4.89) to straight into cupped hands (price negotiable). To-go pints are also available for picnics, birthdays, or igloo-oriented ribbon-cutting ceremonies ($7.95/pint).
Choosing the ideal drink to order from Quench's enormous menu of good-for-you sippables will result in a nutritious treat for your body, as well as a boosted reading level. Quench serves up more than 200 creative concoctions ($1.95–$3.95) to satisfy all brands of thirst—including 'ades, smoothies, mocktails, bubble-tea pearl drinks, ciders, hot chocolates, shakes and floats, coffee drinks, tea drinks, and more. Cool off as you recharge on a hot summer day with a frozen caramel latte ($2.95) or a refreshing guava Italian soda ($1.95), or unwind in the evening by blowing aromatic bubbles into a soothing lavender lemonade ($2.95). Abstinence on the Beach ($3.95) mixes grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and coconut for a tempting mocktail that should inspire no guilt, while a wide variety of decadent shakes and floats such as the chocolate-cheesecake milkshake ($3.95) provides a straw-sized ticket to an indulgent escape.
Impress houseguests and nosy neighbors with the dominion you hold over baked goods by presenting these edible marvels on your serving plate. With an abundance of flavors for your taste buds, dessert fans can celebrate any occasion with a pet bundt by their side. Throw a party in honor of chocolate with chocolate-chocolate-chip and white-white-chocolate bundts, or kick-start a fruit-filled New Year's diet with January's flavor-of-the-month, lemon raspberry. Anniversaries are easily remembered with lovely cakey lumps topped with icing ribbons and silk flowers. Those with a steady confectionary companion can supplement hugs and kisses with sweet-natured red-velvet cakes on Valentine's Day. Cakes come in various sizes ranging from 8-inch cakes to tiered masterpieces ($18.50–$65.00), as well as single serving bundtlets that are more precious than the gold pans they're baked in ($3.99 each). Since they’re made only from pure ingredients and a love for the sweeter things in life, it’s easy to love your bundt for its radiant smile, can-do attitude, and perfect attendance this semester.
Barefoot Coffee approaches bean brewing as a culinary art, sourcing seasonal, organic harvests from fair-trade farms in El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. At the Los Gatos coffee bar, baristas handcraft every espresso ($2.15) and latte ($3.65) using premium ingredients such as organic milk from Straus Family Creamery and pure water from the tears of Zeus. Signature drinks include the mocha, which blends single-origin E. Guittard chocolate with coffee and fresh milk ($3.75). For at-home sipping, a bag of Brazilian-born Redcab Espresso brews cups distinguished by floral aromas ($16 for 350g). Patrons can also dine on delicacies from local merchants Starters Bakery and Snake & Butterfly Chocolates, or visit the iPad bar for games, news, and asking the Internet why it can't fall asleep at night.
In the 1960s, Margaret took her first trip to Paris and fell in love with the sights and sounds that filled the teeming streets. But mostly, she fell in love with the flavors. "I ate my way through that city," she says with a laugh. When she returned to the States, she could not find anything that measured up to what she'd tasted in France, so Margaret, who'd been cooking since the age of 10, began trying her hand at re-creating the flavors and textures that left her enamored with the City of Lights.
When she opened her first shop in 1983, she began crafting croissants, brioches, and tarts. Now, in her appointment-only headquarters, Margaret and her team continue to create those French confections as well as custom cakes, which serve as impressive centerpieces at weddings and natural habitats for tiny, well-dressed couples. Fondant and marzipan from Switzerland shield the towering creations, which are filled with Belgian chocolate and locally grown fresh fruit. Popular creations include a cake steeped in strawberries and Grand Marnier, a chocolate-raspberry mousse torte, and a princess cake, which layers spongy vanilla génoise, raspberry preserves, and Amaretto cream filling.
Margaret especially relishes the challenge of sculpting unusual cakes. In her kitchen, she holds her breath while putting the finishing touches on a batter-based construction sculpted into the shape of a stack of tires, which she is building for the wedding of two Jeep lovers.