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Sweet Dreams

It's the sweet, melty stuff gods dream about. . . . Hazelnut pralines covered with milk chocolate, vanilla bean caramels, white chocolate ganaches spiked with fresh ginger or passion fruit, dark chocolate wafers infused with cherries or pears. And don't forget truffles--the sensually satisfying mixture of chocolate and heavy cream, in mouthwatering flavors like raspberry, Irish cream, and double-dark amaretto. Someone (probably an active chocoholic) once stated it's almost a fact: fourteen out of every 10 people love chocolate. And what's not to love? It's the ultimate antidepressant, a guaranteed aphrodisiac, a dark addiction, and an earthly ambrosia. Indeed, the Aztec king Montezuma was so enamored of a bittersweet beverage made with pounded cocoa beans, which he considered to be an aphrodisiac, he purportedly drank 50 goblets of it per day. It's true that chocolate does contain phenylethylamine, an endorphin that, when consumed in your chocolate bar, can create the giddy, breathless sensation of being in love. It's the sweet life for humble byproduct of the cocoa bean, which has now reached supremely elevated status (think Godiva, Lindt, and Valrhona). Many local artisan chocolatiers handcraft exquisite confections using these European lovelies. So where in Sonoma and Napa counties do you go to satisfy that fiercely powerful chocolate craving when it hits? See below for suggestions for a quick fix.

Sonoma County

The Chocolate Cow 452 First St. E., Sonoma. 935-3564.

Hearts Desire Chocolate 101 Golf Course Drive, Rohnert Park. 585-7673.

La Dolce V Fine Chocolates Santa Rosa. (Money order only.) 781-9866.

Peter Rabbit's Chocolate Factory 2489 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa. 575-7110.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory 2200 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma (778-2120); 1219 Napa Town Center, Napa (253-1985).

Sweet Memory Chocolates 305 Center St., Healdsburg. 433-5351.

Traverso's Gourmet Foods Third and B streets, Santa Rosa. 542-3472.

Whole Foods/ Food for Thought 1181 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa (575-7915); 6910 McKinley St., Sebastopol (829-9801); 621 E. Washington St., Petaluma (762-9352).

Napa County

Anette's Chocolate & Ice Cream Factory 1321 First St., Napa. 252-4228.

Candy Cellar 1367 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 942-6990.

Gillespie's Ice Cream and Chocolates 6525 Washington St., Yountville. 944-2113.

Jeanette's Confections 117 Karen Drive, Napa. 252-4296.

Napa Valley Chocolates 1325 Main St., St. Helena. 967-0808.

Vintage Sweet Shoppe 3261 Browns Valley Road, Napa. 226-3933.

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From the July 20-26, 2000 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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