Forrest Gump was on my mind this past week as I spent some time in Sweet Inspirations, the chocolatier on Center Street. If Forrest had been there with me he likely would have modified his famous line. “Life is like a box… or bag…or Sailors Valentine filled tin – of light or dark chocolates. ” Sweet Inspirations is like life in this way – you just never know what sweet surprises await you.
I love stopping by Sweet Inspirations any time of year, but it’s particularly festive as a holiday approaches. With Cupid’s arrow aimed toward Valentine’s Day, the shop is decked out in red and pink décor showcasing plush heart shaped containers brimming with a wide variety of succulent items. Shoppers are invited to purchase the pre-filled containers or customize a special red velvet heart with their favorite confections.
With so much to choose from, I’m glad I set aside significant time to linger in this sensory wonderland. The world-class ingredients used in the chocolates are paired perfectly with the extraordinary customer service provided to visitors. As I peruse the glass case and considered my options, a friendly sales person approaches toting a Nantucket basket filled with plump cranberries expertly dipped in the renowned chocolate. She scoops a few onto a spoon and asks with a warm smile, “light or dark?” I savor the little light chocolate ones while I shop.
Nantucket, in all its glory, is on display throughout the store. Island shaped “lollipops,” chocolate Nantucket bay scallop shells, sea-mist almonds and Coco the Whale truffles (with a red heart shaped “spout” in honor of Valentine’s Day!) fill the glass cases. Local artist, Barbara Cappizo, was commissioned to design the beautiful gift tins, the most recent a Sailor’s Valentine creation featuring seashells she collected along the Nantucket beaches.
The Sweet Inspirations’ artisians hand-create most of the tasty morsels in-house every morning. Pecan turtles, mini cranberry cheesecakes, butter-crunch delights and sea-salt roasted almonds beckon me to add them to my little tin. One of my all-time favorite delicacies are the malted milk balls. Light, crunchy and delicious, these bad boys have no problem standing alone as a post dinner treat…but chase them down with a nice red wine and it’s a party in your mouth. Always a favorite with a crowd, they’ve become a mainstay at our dinner parties and large events – given as favors at our second son’s engagement party and door prizes at a friend’s baby shower. I add a few to my collection.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I veer off course momentarily and consider the thoughtfully wrapped gift bags brimming with red hots or little candy hearts embossed with sweet nothings. I smile and recall memories of third grade Valentine’s exchanges as I read “Be Mine!” and “U&Me4Ever” on some of the little hearts. There’s nothing like a candy store to bring out the kid in all of us.
If you’re lucky enough to be on Nantucket this Valentine’s Day, be sure to stop by Sweet Inspirations for a box or bag of your favorite confections. If not, be sure to make plans now for your next visit to the island and pencil in a stop or two at the chocolate paradise where you too can tap into your inner child and satisfy your sweet tooth.