One of the hardest things for me to write about are things that I enjoy. I’m always afraid that I won’t be able to translate that joy into words. Recently, I had my 33rd birthday party at Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park. Yes, I had a chocolate birthday party. It was awesome. I’ve been trying so hard to adequately write about what a great time I had, that I’ve started and restarted this blog several times! Hopefully, I can express just how much fun my friends and I had that night and maybe you’ll want to have your birthday party there, too.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park is owned and operated by the wonderful Jami and Kevin Wray, two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Their shop is located on idyllic Park Avenue, just down the road from Rollins College (Go Tars!).
The night started off with the delicious smell of chocolate wafting onto Park Ave. You can almost taste the chocolate before even stepping foot in the door. When inside, your eyes jump back and forth between the wonderful displays. There were regular chocolates, chocolate covered dried fruit, chocolate pizza, chocolate shoes, and even chocolate covered potato chips! My friends and I window shopped while we waited for the night to begin.
In the back of the store, which you can’t get to without passing the gelato (free tasting samples!), is where the party was held. The room holds more than 15 people, but there were 13 of us and I believe it made it more comfortable as everyone had more room to move around. On a long table were squares of wax paper, each containing a caramel apple, an Oreo, a Nutter Butter, a graham cracker square, and pretzel rods. Running down the center of the table were edible decorations such as sea salt, sprinkles, chopped nuts, and chocolate covered popcorn. We each wore a Peterbrooke apron and a paper hat. Markers were provided for the decorating of the hats.
The party begins with a history lesson: a chocolate history lesson. Danny, one of our wonderful hosts, taught us about the cacao plant that chocolate beans come from, the Mayans and their use of the cacao beans, and how chocolate evolved into what we know and love today. At the end of the lesson was a pop quiz. Correct answers were rewarded with white chocolate covered pretzels.
Peterbrooke has not one, but two chocolate “fountains:” one milk and one dark. These machines constantly churn the chocolate in order to keep it tempered and smooth so it does not seize up. Annie, our other wonderful host, showed us the proper way to dip our treats, gave us some rules, and let us loose. Some of us were more conservative with our decorations, while others went all out, piling everything on top of their treats.
The best part of the evening was something you can’t get at Peterbrooke, because the best part of my night was my friends. We drank (alcohol is allowed at the parties because Jami and Kevin rock), we laughed, we decorated, and we smiled all night long. My friends are all creative types. Celebrating with me were musicians, performers, teachers, planners, and lovers of life. For an hour and a half we were able to forget our troubles and focus our creative energies into crafting some impressive looking and great tasting chocolate treats.
The combination of chocolate and awesome people made my birthday party the best I’ve ever had. If this blog has whet your appetite for chocolate, head on down to Peterbrooke and grab yourself a dark chocolate sea salt bar, my personal favorite, or any one of their delicious treats. If you’re planning a party anytime soon, I cannot recommend Peterbrooke enough. You can never go wrong with chocolate, especially when it comes from Peterbrooke Chocolatier.