Historic Eastpointe church celebrates 170 years

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WeddingIn 1845, there were 28 states in the Union, James K. Polk was inaugurated as the 11th U.S. president, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” was published and St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded. This year, St. Peter’s is celebrating their 170th anniversary.

While I’m writing this, I can hear sweet melodies from my bedroom window chimed by St. Peter’s church bells that date back to 1876. I was married in this church; it’s where my parents were married. My daughter was baptized there last month, the same place I was.

Eastpointe in 1845 was known as Erin Township and was dominated by oak forests and swamps. The Fort Gratiot Turnpike, made of logs, was the only main road, and Nine Mile was simply a bridle path. Henry Ford wouldn’t open his first automobile factory for another 58 years.

The area was settled by German immigrants who left Germany due to religious oppression. For a while, there was only one Lutheran pastor in Michigan, traveling to preach and perform baptisms. A small congregation formed in Erin Township and met in each other’s homes until 1845 when they Called Johann Friedrich Winkler to be their pastor. They built a log church on the Fort Gratiot Turnpike south of Eight Mile, and this is when St. Peter’s began.

DeedA year later, the congregation split, and land was bought for a new church on the northwest corner of Nine Mile and Gratiot for $10. A new log church was built, and in 1850, a school was established. Additional land was purchased for $40, and a brick church was built in 1859. The bricks for the building were handmade on a farm near Ten Mile and transported by wagon. The school moved into the vacated log building, and many additions and expansions occurred to both church and school until St. Peter’s moved to its current location at 23000 Gratiot Avenue in 1950.

My grandmother Carol Middeldorf remembers this occasion. She taught first and second grade along with my grandfather Carl Middeldorf who taught fifth and sixth grade the last year the school was located on Nine Mile. There were only four teachers, each had about 50 students. She and Carl lived in a small loft next to the school, and since the current building was being constructed just across Gratiot, she recalls walking up there to check on the progress. Carol went on to teach first grade and Sunday school in the current building, and for 43 years, Carl served in many capacities including as teacher, coach, youth director and principal.

Over time, pastors came and went and members split to form new congregations. Several prominent Lutheran churches in this area can trace their roots back to St. Peter’s. For example, St. Mark in Roseville is an offshoot of St. Peter’s, and St. John Fraser fragmented from St. Mark.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday, St. Peter’s has grown to include an Early Childhood Center, providing daycare for children as young as 6 weeks; a grade school ranging from preschool to eighth grade; and a beautiful Neo-Gothic-style brick church with stained glass windows, vaulted ceiling, slate floor and bell tower with original bells from the Nine Mile location. The grounds also include a peaceful cemetery, playground, gymnasium and pristine baseball fields for school and adult league use. Adjacent is the Lutheran Fraternities of America No. 57 banquet hall where members from many different Lutheran congregations meet once a month to socialize. They are presently accepting new members, and the hall is available to the public for rental.

Early Childhood CenterSt. Peter’s continues to provide many programs for children and adults. In addition to the daycare and school, they also offer summer camp, Vacation Bible School and an active youth group. They reach out to the community through their food pantry and mission donations, and they offer fellowship through coffee hour and Bible study.

All year, St. Peter’s has been celebrating its rich history. This past March, they held their First Annual Gala which included a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. Last month, they held a historical church service. Though not in German, the service followed an order of worship from the past, performed baptisms in the restored original baptismal font and administered communion from a vintage chalice. Afterward, they celebrated with a well-attended outdoor pig roast (a 198-pound pig was purchased and transported from Tennessee!), pie-eating contest and children’s games.

Pig RoastMore activities are planned for this momentous year, such as an ice cream social at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23 and an anniversary service and banquet at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27. St. Peter’s is inviting all current, prospective and former church members and students and anyone who was baptized, confirmed or married there to participate in the celebration. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids if purchased before September. It will be a time to remember the past, reconnect with one another and look toward the future, all while praising God.

St. Peter’s is calling to its flock, saying, “No matter where you may be in your life or in the world, we are still your home.”

For more information on the history of St. Peter’s, check out “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” and “Come Unto Me” available at the Eastpointe Memorial Library and the Mount Clemens Public Library. For current happenings, like St. Peter’s on Facebook.

23000 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe 48021 (586) 777-6300

23000 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe 48021
(586) 777-6300

Office Hours
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Worship Services
Sundays 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays 7 p.m.

School Enrollment
Now open for the August 2015 – June 2016 school year

Early Childhood Center Hours
Open year-round, Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

16140 Aurora, Eastpointe 48021 (586) 779-2810

LFA Hall
16140 Aurora, Eastpointe 48021
(586) 779-2810

New garden center offers plethora of magnificent Mother’s Day gifts

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In Michigan, the anticipated warmth and beauty of spring’s arrival can sometimes be anticlimactic. March 20 was the first day of spring this year, but we still experienced cool weather, cloudy skies and even some snow in late April.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, now is the perfect time to shake off the chill and look toward the sunny skies of May. That’s right – it’s time for bright-colored annuals, hanging baskets and even vegetables.

The newest garden center to open in Macomb County is Drew’s Garden, and it’s the perfect place to find gifts for mom. You can’t go wrong with a birdhouse, wind chime, patio pot, 10-inch hanging basket (for only $12.99!), colorful watering can filled with flowers, butterfly bush or hummingbird plant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrew’s Garden is located in what was formerly Semrau Garden Center in Eastpointe. Opened in 1916, Semrau was in operation for 99 years, with four generations of Semraus working there. For me and many others, it was a staple of spring and summer, and I was heartbroken when I saw the “for sale” sign go up. However, after some time to process and a visit to the new garden center, much like spring, my spirits have been renewed.

Opening just this past March, Drew’s Garden has already made a large investment in the community. The store was completely gutted and freshly painted in vibrant colors, the bathrooms were remodeled and there is a ton of new merchandise including houseplants, gardening tools and supplies, exotic tropicals such as palms and pineapple plants, seeds, bird feeders and fairy garden landscapes.

Renovations have been occurring outside as well. A new electronic sign, a 48-by-44-foot wooden pergola and a 60-foot flower box (soon to be a wall of flowers) have all gone up. The pergola is stocked full of hanging baskets and their outdoor merchandise includes shrubs, roses, vegetables, herbs, annuals and 279 varieties of perennials. You will also see familiar faces as many of the Semrau employees have stayed on staff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatrick Kouza is the proud new owner, but this isn’t his first time running a business. He also owns Penny Lake Market in Walled Lake where he added a flower market in the parking lot. His love for flowers has led him to buy this nursery, which he named after one of his children. In addition to renovations, Pat has also lengthened the store’s hours and season. In August, he plans to have a farmers market, offering Amish-grown plants.

Exciting new things are happening at 23751 Gratiot, and now is the perfect time to check it out – and don’t forget to pick up something great for mom!

 

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23751 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 775-3770

 

Hours
Monday – Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Warren business serving up locally-sourced Latin American cuisine

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Pilar’s Tamales in Warren is offering something really unique in Macomb County – gluten-free Salvadoran food with dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options. It’s made with many all-natural, free-range and organic ingredients from local Michigan farms.

You may have had a tamale the last time you dined at your favorite Mexican restaurant (see A look into Plaza Mexico), but when was the last time you had a pupusa with fried yuca root and tamarind?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hadn’t even heard of these savory dishes until I tried them at Pilar’s. A pupusa is a grilled handmade tortilla made from stone-ground corn masa filled with your choice of chicken, pork or black beans and cheese. Fried yuca root is derived from the root of a shrubby plant with large, starchy roots. Fried and coated with a spicy seasoning, it is essentially a tropical French fry. Tamarind is a Latin American drink made from the fruit of an Asian evergreen tree. Pilar’s peels their own pods to make this tart and fruity drink.

And of course, there are tamales. Handmade with stone-ground corn masa, these tamales are filled with all-natural chicken, chicken and cheese, all-natural pork, spicy pork with ghost chili peppers, chorizo (pork sausage), jalapeno and cheese, black beans and cheese, vegan black beans or tempeh (soybeans). Then they are rolled, steamed and served with a delicious homemade sauce and a side of curtido (cabbage slaw). In fact, all of their stocks, salsa, sauces and salads are made in house. I recommend the perfect pair special because you get to try both a tamale and a pupusa.

Pilar’s opened their first location in Ann Arbor in 2000. A family of refugees fleeing from the Salvadoran Civil War, they began their business with a tamale cart, selling to University of Michigan students. The business expanded as they became vendors at several farmers markets, offering cold tamales that can be easily frozen and reheated. In early 2014, after looking for a satellite kitchen to be closer to Eastern Market, the Royal Oak Farmers Market and the Birmingham Farmers Market, Juan Carlos Nolasco and his wife Sandra Naimou found an affordable spot in Warren and opened a second Pilar’s Tamales kitchen and restaurant. Juan Carlos’ sisters and mother still manage the Ann Arbor location.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocating on Mound between Chicago and 14 Mile Road has proven to be a good business decision. In addition to their proximity to nearby farmers markets, Pilar’s is also seconds away from the popular Warren Community Center and pool and two of the largest employers in the area: the GM Technical Center and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. GM has even invited Pilar’s to participate in a rotating lunch program they offer to their employees.

Juan Carlos was surprised by how much support they have received from the community. “The people here really care about what they are eating; they care about their health,” he said. His favorite part of running Pilar’s is meeting people who are open to new foods and to trying something different.

The recipes are not necessarily traditional Salvadoran because the concept of healthy food was incorporated from the very beginning. While authentic Latin American recipes often contain some not-so-healthy ingredients (think lard), Pilar’s has created their own delicious and healthy versions while still remaining true to their Salvadoran roots. They have devised more varieties of tamales and have included healthier meats raised without antibiotics, hormones or artificial growth stimulants. Kale, squash and other seasonal produce are locally grown at Vanhoutte Farms in Armada. Since everything is free of gluten, it is the ideal dining destination for patrons with celiac disease or food allergies.

I could go on and on about the different sides, drinks, desserts and specials available (casamiento made with organic black beans and organic white rice; fried plantains (like a fried banana); and gluten-free, vegan, soy-free and nut-free chocolate chip bliss bars), but you should really explore this restaurant for yourself. Keep an open mind, and remember, this is Salvadoran food and might not be exactly what you expect at first – but I promise it will grow on you!

This tiny restaurant offers carry out and minimal dining in. Open Tuesday through Saturday, hours are limited, so be sure plan your visit accordingly. And don’t forget their cold tamales, perfect for freezing and reheating for a great meal at home or an office lunch.

 

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32247 Mound Road, Warren, MI 48092 (586) 838-5608

 Pilar’s Tamales Menu

Hours
Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday – 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday – 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday

Cloverleaf: Experience Detroit-style pizza at its best

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Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant is an iconic staple in Macomb County. Founded by the father of the Detroit square pizza, Gus Guerra, it has been in business since 1953. Still using the original recipe, Cloverleaf offers one seriously tasty deep-dish pizza in addition to other favorites like crunchy sweet bread, whipped cheesecake and cold drinks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing from the area, you might take Detroit-style pizza for granted and not even know what it is. It is defined as a square, deep-dish pizza with sauce on top and a crispy crust. Guerra and his wife Anna first introduced this style of pizza in 1946 as the original founders of Buddy’s Rendezvous in Detroit. They sold Buddy’s and the recipe in 1953 and purchased Cloverleaf in East Detroit. Today, Cloverleaf still sits at 24443 Gratiot Avenue in Eastpointe and is run by the Guerras’ children Jack Guerra and Marie Guerra Easterby.

Cloverleaf offers a large eight-piece or a small four-piece pizza with a variety of toppings from which to choose. The specialty gourmet pies include bruschetta, Hawaiian, barbeque chicken, supreme and BLT. Each pizza is made fresh when you order it. Loaded with cheese, sauce and toppings, the pieces are substantial. Also newly available is gluten-free pizza, which is a really great-tasting option for those looking for gluten-free alternatives.

crunchy breadWhile you wait for your pizza to bake, try one of their delicious antipasto salads. This comes with fresh bread with rosemary baked into the crust and crunchy sweet bread. The latter is buttery, parmesan cheesy and at the same time sugary and sweet. If you decide to forego the salad, I highly recommend you ask your server for a bread basket so you can discover this crunchy sweet goodness for yourself.

Not in the mood for pizza? Cloverleaf also offers classic Italian dishes, pasta, ribs, lake perch, burgers and sandwiches. If you still have room for dessert, try the homemade whipped cheesecake with cherries or strawberries or the whipped Oreo cheesecake – both made in house and exceedingly good.

Also popular is the lunch buffet, offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Eastpointe location offers carryout and so do its franchise locations in Macomb Township, Sterling Heights and coming soon to 13 Mile in Roseville.

pintsThere is a fully-stocked bar with an assortment of beer on draft, bottled domestics and imports, wine and spirits to complement your meal, and if you time it right, there are happy hour specials. Cloverleaf has also been adding a growing number of craft beers to their selection. The bartenders are friendly, and in addition to bar seating, there are also high-top tables where you can watch sports or play Club Keno.

Throughout the rest of the restaurant, there is ample table and booth seating able to accommodate large groups. The enclosed patio is a great space to reserve for events like birthdays, showers or rehearsal dinners (this is where I had mine!). With a family-friendly atmosphere, I often see couples out on “date night,” families enjoying dinner out together and coworkers deconstructing their day over beers. Cloverleaf is also community-oriented, often hosting fundraisers for nonprofit and charity organizations.

Paint Nite logoSomething new being offered is Paint Nite, where an artist instructor guides you step by step to create your own beautiful painting. The registration fee includes the lesson, paint and canvas, making this a fun and easy night out with the girls or with your significant other. Most painters arrive early to grab a bite to eat, and of course, you must enjoy a glass of wine to get the creative juices flowing while you paint! Paint Nite takes place at 7 p.m. every other Wednesday in the enclosed patio. Go to www.paintnite.com to register (discounts are often available through Groupon, Living Social and the Paint Nite Detroit Facebook page).

If you’re looking for a really good pizza or simply a fun place to hang out, give Cloverleaf a try. Check out their Facebook page for current specials and upcoming events. You can also find them on Instagram under Cloverleaf Restaurant.

Cloverleaf entrance

24443 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 777-5391

  Cloverleaf Menu

Hours
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on March 18, 2015.

The gift of reading

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs an expecting mother-to-be, some aspects of my baby shower were easier to figure out than others. Venue: Fishbone’s – check. Cake: Giuseppe’s Bakery – check. Favors: Midwest Suds Soap Co. products made by my sisters and me – check. But when it came to registering, that was a different story.

There are thousands of items with limitless variations to sort through. The aisles of bedding, toys, car seats, diapers, nursery pieces, strollers, bath essentials, clothes, bottles and safety gear were a little overwhelming. However, armed with a scanner gun, my husband and I were determined to find everything the baby will need.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter fruitlessly wandering the store for a while, we naturally gravitated over to the book area. Paging through our old favorites from when we were young, the scanner gun quickly snapped into action. We scanned every Dr. Seuss book we saw as well as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and other Eric Carle books, “The Monster at the End of this Book,” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and more.

As I examined the familiar covers, I remembered my parents and grandparents reading to me, and I look forward to reading to my child. And as he or she grows, I can’t wait to share with them “The Giving Tree,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Secret Garden.”

We didn’t register for very many things on our first try. We weren’t sure how many footie pajamas we would need or what brand of diapers to choose, but we did know our baby will need books.

caterpillarMarch is National Reading Month, and it’s a great time to remember the huge impact reading has on our lives. Literacy is not something to be taken for granted. It needs to be initiated, nurtured, developed and maintained. The fundamental reading skills we acquire in our youth translate into academic and career assets in the future.

Illiteracy is not something that only affects children. Reading Works is an organization that helps metro Detroit adults learn to read or raise their literacy level. Find out more on their website readingworksdetroit.org.

This month is the perfect time to read to your toddler, take a child to the library or set aside time to discover a new book for yourself.

A version of this article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on March 13, 2015.

Get to Green Dot

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Green Dot Stables is one of my favorite burger restaurants in the area. They offer a really unique selection of sliders and keep things fun by offering a mystery meat and drink. You can ask your server what the mystery is, or simply take a chance and order. My last mystery meat slider was rabbit wrapped in bacon. Seriously, a rabbit slider? This place is special.

An island among a concrete wasteland, Green Dot is right in the middle of nothing. Located in a mostly industrial part of northern Corktown, the restaurant is on West Lafayette and 14th Street, a block from West Fort Street. A first timer not familiar with the area may be wary to give this place a try, but there is ample parking, and each time I go, I see an increasing number of young families and baby boomers — it’s a welcoming environment for everyone.

Green Dot is not a large restaurant, but it can accommodate larger groups by pushing tables together. There always seems to be a line, and your whole party must be there to even get on the wait list, whether there are two of you or ten. So, arrive with the rest of your group, because the clock doesn’t start ticking until you all get there. However, if you must wait, there is usually room at the bar, and there is a waiting area in the back.

The theme of the restaurant is, well, stables. There is jockey and horse racing memorabilia throughout. The dim lighting, exposed brick interior and shingled overhang above the bar give it a retro VFW hall vibe, but the place is definitely trendy and made for foodies.

Now the food. We usually order in rounds. I would say start off with three burgers, allow some time for that to settle, and then see what else you still have room for. Some of my favorites are the tempeh (marinated tempeh with wasabi mayo and wakame salad), the black bean (tomato slice, avocado and sour cream) and the bacon cheeseburger, the last probably being my favorite. Never underestimate a regular old cheeseburger. My husband Brandon’s favorites are the BBQ bacon (beef patty, sweet potato and homemade BBQ sauce), the fried chicken (panko and sage maple syrup) and the PB&J (peanut butter with chipotle raspberry jam) ordered with bacon. We always try the mystery meat and have yet to be disappointed. Green Dot also has lamb, corned beef, quinoa, catfish and a lot more.

I recommend truffle & herb or Cajun fries to share with the table. They have bottled beer and a few Michigan brews on draft, and the classic cocktails should not be overlooked. Brandon is a big fan of the Zug Island iced tea (scotch, triple sec, raspberry tea, lemonade and bay leaf) and Moscow mule (ginger beer, lime and vodka). Each item you order is only two or three dollars, but you might be surprised how quickly it adds up, so be forewarned.

If you are looking for a laid back environment, cheap beer and high-quality specialty sliders, then I would recommend you get to Green Dot.

 

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2200 West Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48216 (313) 962-5588

Green Dot Stables menu

Hours
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Walkability Factor

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Macomb County roads are always evolving, and whether you drive, take the bus or ride your bike to work, roads affect all of our daily lives.  Many spend hours sitting on these roads in rush hour traffic while commuting to work each week. Every winter, we turn to our local news for weather and traffic report updates to plot out alternate routes and hope the roads are plowed.  Even Executive Mark A. Hackel has taken up the topic, asking local legislators to look at our potholes and take action.

While the northern part of Macomb County is paving dirt roads and widening busy thoroughfares, the built-up southern end of the county is taking measures to close the concrete gap.  An example of this can be seen on Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township.

In an effort to improve pedestrian safety, the Michigan Department of Transportation has installed four new high-intensity activated crosswalk (HAWK) signals.  Signals were installed on both sides of the Gratiot median at Quinn Road and Laurel Street.  The HAWK signals remain dark until activated by a pedestrian, at which point the signal will flash yellow, turn solid yellow, then solid red, indicating to traffic to slow and stop.  Traffic can begin again once signals flash red and pedestrians have cleared.

Another pedestrian-friendly project recently completed in Macomb County was the installation of a traffic island and pedestrian-activated signals on 12 Mile Road in Warren between Macomb Community College’s South Campus and Wayne State University’s new Advanced Technology Education Center.  As a result, students and SMART bus riders are able to conveniently traverse the five lanes of traffic.

While roads are the portals that take us anywhere we want to go, they often serve as impassible dividers within a community. For example, a store may be within eyesight and walking distance, but crossing eight lanes of traffic may be nearly impossible or simply impractical if the nearest intersection is a half mile away.  These projects increase the convenience for anyone trying to get around by bike or on foot – something that is becoming more popular with not only young professionals, but also senior citizens who want to stay in their community without relying on cars for transportation.

Walkability plays into the major placemaking movement many communities are striving to adopt.  The city of Roseville has taken on an initiative to create a pedestrian-accessible business district at the Utica and Gratiot junction.  The Roseville City Counsel passed an ordinance that creates a town center overlay district for this area which could feature landscaped streets, restaurants with outdoor seating and a mix of commercial and residential areas.  The council also passed other ordinances allowing for more sidewalks, less parking spots and more bicycle parking.

Both Roseville and Eastpointe were recently declared Development Ready Communities by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  Last October, Eastpointe hosted a charrette where it invited students from Lawrence Tech and the George Brown College’s Institute without Boundaries program from Toronto to brainstorm redevelopment ideas for the city.  Of the many ideas that were generated, some were to turn the Stephens and Gratiot intersection into a walkable area of commerce and to add bike lanes on Kelly Road.

Bike lanes are soon to become a reality for the city of Warren.  Warren officials approved funding for a non-motorized pathway along Van Dyke Avenue that will include a dedicated lane, median enhancements, a decorative crosswalk and sidewalk ramps.  Once completed, there could be an opportunity to extend the path to other neighboring communities.  The goal is that the increased pedestrian and bike traffic will lead to more revenue for businesses in the area.

The next time you find yourself sitting in traffic in Macomb County, keep your eye out for some of the exciting new developments that are coming down the pike.

This article was also published in eMacomb Winter 2015.

Champagne Chocolates: A decadent delight

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Before you find yourself in the drug store on your lunch break on Feb. 14 frantically searching for your Valentine’s Day gifts (we’ve all been there), do yourself and your loved ones a favor and make a stop at Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens.

Champagne Chocolates has everything you need for Valentine’s Day: boxed chocolates, toffees, barks and turtles – and they are all hand-crafted on-site daily.

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These candies are made with the freshest ingredients – and I’m not just saying that. While most chain stores started stocking Valentine’s Day candy right after Christmas, Champagne Chocolates has just begun to make theirs. The candy is preservative-free, ensuring freshness and optimal quality.

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Thursdays are Raspberry Delight Day, which means Owner Debbie Heuchert goes out in the morning to buy fresh raspberries that will sit atop chocolate cups filled with dark chocolate ganache. Debbie also regularly heads to the Peanut Peddler to handpick hazelnuts for the candies.

“We take pride in our ingredients,” said Debbie. “When you start with good ingredients, you end up with good products.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lot has changed since Debbie started making candies in her basement 25 years ago, but she still uses her own original recipes. Her husband John also plays a valuable part in the business, building machinery to improve consistency, accommodate larger molds and increase productivity.

Ten years ago, she opened up shop in downtown Mount Clemens. This past July, she moved to a new location at 65 Macomb Place, suite E (around the corner from Max & Ollie’s Vintage Boutique and across from Bath City Bistro). Still in Mount Clemens, the new building is larger, allowing for more efficient manufacturing. The more prominent location has also lead to increased sales.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“We love being in the heart of Macomb County,” explained Debbie. “The downtown area has a big town feel, but you know everybody. The businesses here support each other.” She also appreciates all of the hard work done by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The recent Mount Clemens Ice Carving Show the DDA hosted brought a lot of fun – and new customers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADebbie loves to indulge in the creative side of the business, especially when it comes to developing chocolate recipes. Champagne Chocolates carries a few items you might not expect, like chocolate-dipped bacon and Rustic Bars made partially with organic ingredients.

They also offer chocolate parties where you and a group of friends can make your own truffles and learn some interesting facts about chocolate – did you know all of their chocolate nibs come from the same farm in Ecuador? If you bring along a bottle of wine, staff will also help you pair it with the perfect chocolate.

Be kind to your valentine, and treat them to a box of chocolates or toffees from a great local business. You won’t regret it!

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65 Macomb Place, suite E, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-1170

Truffles with a Twist and Chocolate Party information

Hours
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Sunday

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Feb. 6, 2015.

Stuff your stocking with specialty coffee

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Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season? Coffee Break in Eastpointe sells one-pound packages of small-batch roasted coffee beans from countries around the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhole bean selections come from Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia and Kenya – and the list continues to grow. Priced at just $11.99 a bag, compared to $14.95 at Starbucks, not only are you acquiring a unique gift, but a great deal too.

Coffee Break is a cozy and chic coffee house that offers big-chain quality with small business appeal. Dim pendant lights, custom-laid floor tiles, charming bistro tables and free Wi-Fi create a comfortable environment for any coffee lover. The rear alcove also features a sleek leather couch facing a flat screen TV mounted above a blazing fireplace.

While you’re there, take a break from your Christmas shopping and relax with a hot cup of coffee, latte, cappuccino or espresso – my favorite is the marshmallow latte. They also serve a wide variety of bag and loose-leaf tea with festive flavors including hot cinnamon spice, ginger and licorice, cranberry autumn, spiced plum, chocolate mint and organic peppermint. Coffee Break also has a limited menu consisting of sandwiches, baklava, handmade shortbread, pastries and more.

Conveniently located on 10 Mile between Kelly Road and I-94 (just a mile from where I-696 meets I-94), Coffee Break has been operating in Eastpointe for four years. Just a stone’s throw away from Sugarbush Tavern, a prominent sidewalk promotes walkability among other neighboring businesses including Mario’s Meats, Little Italy Pizzeria and Fairway Drugs.

Vastly versatile, Coffee Break can accommodate any coffee enthusiast’s whim, whether you are looking for a meeting spot to catch up with old friends, to explore a new taste from across the world or to simply obtain your caffeine fix. Coffee Break coffee is sure to delight whoever receives it this holiday season!

Coffee Break photo

19156 E. 10 Mile Road, Eastpointe 48021 (586) 362-8683

 Hours
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 22, 2014.