Newport: Michele De Luca-Verley has a bewitching way with the artisanal chocolates that she makes for La Maison de Coco (28 Bellevue Ave., 401-845-2626, www.lamaisondecoco.com). She crafts her tea-infused truffles daily with fresh cream from a nearby dairy. Customers find the flavor of the caramel truffle comfortingly familiar, but as a winter warmer, De Luca-Verley recommends the ginger truffle or one she calls La Forêt (cinnamon and plum).
For gifts, picnic snacks and pick-me-ups, try Bellevue Avenue’s Gourmet Trio. You’ll find high-end, tea-infused truffles (in flavors like bergamot and jasmine peach blossom) and white chocolate and lavender hot chocolate at La Maison de Coco (28 Bellevue Avenue; 401- 845-2626;lamaisondecoco.com), artisanal cheeses and local Aquidneck Honey at Le Petit Gourmet (26 Bellevue Avenue; 401-619-3882) and weekend wine tastings at the Newport Wine Cellar (24 Bellevue Avenue; 401-619-3966;newportwinecellar.com; 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday).
Michele Deluca-Verlay, La Maison de Coco, Newport
When you combine passion with chocolate, there isn't much that can go wrong. About 14 years ago Michele Deluca-Verlay began to combine her two passions: tea and chocolate. Boy are we happy that she did. There is no other spot in Newport that we find as "Parisian" as Michele's shop. Quaint sidewalk tables and an inside counter are usually bustling with smiling patrons enjoying crepes, cafe and her incredible truffles. These babies are worth a road trip. Deluca-Verlay takes the subtle flavors of tea like plum oolong and the citrus flavor from Earl Gray, bergamot, and infuses them into local cream and the highest quality chocolate. You are left with a sublime combination of flavor that is at once familiar and unique. She uses local farms and dairies when possible for the top notch ingredients she desires. Imagine a hot chocolate that is made with the flavored ganache on this chilly morning and get to Newport! 28 Bellevue Ave. 845-2626, www.lamaisondecoco.com