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The Chocolate Bar and Verdigris Tea in Hudson; Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

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As we stagger down the home stretch of what seemed like an endless election cycle, with its barrage of ads and head-spinning polls, I conducted an informal poll of my own that revealed the need for chocolate is now at an all-time high.

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of Hudson, I suggest you head to the Chocolate Bar at 135 Warren Street (hudsonchocolatebar.com), where you’ll find not only decadent chocolates made by local and regional chocolatiers, but chocolate pastries, chocolate biscotti, chocolate-drizzled brownies, triple-chocolate cupcakes, chocolate truffles, and chocolate in liquid form, both hot and cold, to wash the other chocolate down. A dose of the chocolate mocha magic drink with coffee, whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top should raise anybody’s spirits.

verdigris tea shopPhotograph courtesy of Verdigris Tea Shop

The Chocolate Bar is part of Verdigris (www.verdigristea.com), a lovely little, six-table tea shop, so if chocolate fails to do the trick, you can take the English approach and make life better with a nice cup of tea. (Don’t scoff. It works.) Verdigris has a wonderful selection of 120 loose teas — green, black, white, oolong, and caffeine-free rooibos — along with herbal tisanes. If you need a calming brew, try one of the Flowering Teas, made from ancient recipes that blend green teas with blossoms. Even their names are soothing, particularly Golden Prosperity (with marigolds) and Awakening Spirit (with jasmine, nasturtium and globe amaranth). Teapots, kettles, infusers, cups and other tea-imbibing paraphernalia complete the picture.

But back to chocolate for a minute: the shop’s owner, Kim Bach, offers regular free tastings that pair chocolates with wine (and sometimes beer), and tips on how to cook with chocolate. All the baked goodies are made in the tea shop, so you may even wangle a recipe, if you ask nicely.

While we’re on the subject of treats: Don’t forget Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is having a fall encore, running from November 5 to 18. Three courses cost $20.95 at lunch; $29.95 at dinner. So far, 150 or so restaurants are participating. Check the list at www.hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com and make reservations now; they go really fast.

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