What would you do if you were faced with giant truffles staring at you from a billboard overlooking I-94 in southwest Michigan? We have passed this billboard so many times on our way back to Lansing from Illinois, but always make excuses not to stop. A few months ago, we needed gas and I pulled off in Coloma to find a BP, but we couldn’t find The Chocolate Garden, so we gave up and went home. Turns out, we took a right when we should have taken a left. This time, we were in no hurry and had no excuse not stop.
The Chocolate Garden is in the most unassuming location. Heck, we weren’t even sure we were in the right place. When you get off the Interstate in Coloma and take a left, you pass a number of U-Pick farms and even other chocolate places. The Chocolate Garden was smart enough to put signs up across the street from these places to tell you to keep going.
After about a mile, you come up a farm house with a sign out front telling you to turn in for the Chocolate Garden. Not what we were expecting at all. The shop sits behind the farmhouse in a little building that would be more in place in a downtown shopping district among other boutiques. We actually passed the house the first time thinking 1.) it wasn’t open or 2.) we couldn’t possibly be in the right place. I went up to the next farm house and turned around. When we made our way back, I noticed the sign on the side of the building that said “open” and the other cars now turning in.
There’s a little parking lot behind the building then a short walk back to the front door. When we opened the door and walked in, we were again surprised by what we found. I knew by looking at their website that all they did were truffles, but I was expecting a candy shop setup with a display case of truffles. Instead, they had little packages of truffles they call 2fers scattered around on tables and categorized by type of chocolate.
The whole inside is an exposed wood farm house feel. Even the furniture is distressed wood. It’s just a cute little shop that you would expect to find in downtown Traverse City…not out in the country near Coloma, MI. My eye was drawn right away to the first table with milk chocolate 2fers. I grabbed that bag first then noticed another table with white chocolate truffles. I put the milk chocolate back and grabbed the white chocolate.
While I was having a hard time deciding between white and milk chocolate, J was looking at the dark chocolate selections which had more flavors. While looking around, we came to a book case in the back of the space that had combo 2fers, so I made another change in my selection and got a package that had both milk and white chocolate offerings. J picked one up that had a red hot pushed in to the top of it then we headed off to pay.
The truffles were a little more expensive than the typical chocolate shop. The four truffles cost just over nine dollars, but these are not your typical chocolate shop truffles. In most cases, truffles are small balls that are covered in chocolate that hardens around a creamy center. These truffles did not have that hard outer coating. Instead, they were rolled in crushed chocolate pieces, so there was still a little bit of a bite, but the whole truffle was creamy and delicious. I have never had anything like these truffles anywhere before and I’m guessing I never will again. After visiting the Chocolate Garden, I have a new outlook on what a truffle is. It’s going to be hard to go back to a chocolate shop and pick out those little, hard pieces of chocolate and be happy with what I get.
The Chocolate Garden was more than worth the detour. We each had one truffle when we got back on the road and were going to save the second until after dinner. Didn’t happen. They made it home, but as soon as we got settled, I found the bag and grabbed my second piece of chocolate. If you’re ever driving along I-94 on your way to Chicago, you need to get off at Exit 39 and find this place!