Peace, Love & Chocolate in Stockbridge
Peace, Love & Chocolate sounds like the name of a shop run by an old hippie, but Ali Aronoff is more of a hipster. A personal trainer and chef who’s lived in Stockbridge for fifteen years, she opened a chocolate boutique six weeks ago in The Mews next door to the Red Lion Inn. “I’ve always loved chocolate,” says Aronoff, who has dedicated herself to selling as many locally-made chocolate products as possible while also offering the best fairly-traded global imports. She has gotten advice from Joshua Needleman at Chocolate Springs in Lenox and sells his truffles and chocolate-covered pretzels. She carries chocolate dipped macaroons ($4.95 for four) and candied popcorn from Tutti Baking in Lenox. “I am just collecting things that are over-the-top fabulous,” she says.
Ali won me over three times in one visit (and I am not even a chocoholic). First, she offered me a piece of chipolte flavored Béquet Goumet caramel ($.45) from Montana—one of the only non-chocolate items in the store—that was melt-in-your-mouth luscious with a pleasant hint of spice. Next, I had an exquisitely rich hot cocoa ($2.65) topped with dense chilled whipped cream that was served in a very pretty cup and saucer. Finally, I had a piece of John Kelly fudge ($2.25) sprinkled with sea salt that was a revelation—perfect for someone like myself who generally prefers savory to sweet.
The shop has a homey feel because Ali’s husband, Jonathan Aronoff, a psychologist with an office nearby, often stops in and her children, Jacob Cum, 9, and Meghan Cum, 12, like to hang out in the store after school. Ali hopes to cater to chocolate connoisseurs who “discuss chocolate as if it were wine” and will appreciate a “ridiculously expensive” $11.95 bar of Amedei chocolate from Tuscany. She wants to attract curiosity seekers who can sample six different pieces of handmade chocolate for $11.95, choosing from jewel-like confections such as Chocolate Springs’s Green Tea Bonsai dark chocolate and Knipschildt‘s Apricot Basil. “Knipschildt is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, and he is really phenomenal,” she says. “I love his Grand Marnier chocolates that look like the top of the bottle.” Her enthuiasm is as genuine as it is contagious, and as she surveys her stock she can’t help but finish every sentence with an exclamation point. She picks up a wrapped cube of Fiddle Fern Fudge ($1.25) that is made up the road in Alford by Catherine Sullivan. “It’s fudge with no bells or whistles,” she says. “It’s simply fantastic!”
Peace, Love & Chocolate
36 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA; 413.298.0020
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM; Friday & Saturday 10 AM - 8 PM
Closed Tuesdays until Memorial Day.