By THOMAS SACCENTE – STAFF WRITER
Whether it be as a result of exams, papers, extracurricular activities, or a combination of all three, at Centre it is all too easy for someone to be swept away in the hectic maelstrom that is a staple of a Centre education. However, those looking for a temporary reprieve from these stress triggers will find a place in Danville that is quite accommodating in this regard, particularly those with a fondness for sweets. It is called Chocolates ‘N More and what it has to offer will amaze anyone who takes the time to stop by.
Located on 126 Church St. in the building which used to house Twisted Sifter, Chocolates ‘N More is a charming little restaurant that is home to a wide range of delicacies sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
The shop carries a colorful array of sweets and pastries with new batches constantly being baked so that freshness is guaranteed. It is this broad range of items that makes Chocolates ‘N More unique in the Danville area. It includes, but is by no means limited to, pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies and so much more, all crafted to perfection by a certified chocolatier. Some of their items are pastries that are unfamiliar to many people.
For instance, the most popular product of the restaurant is, by far, the Chocolate Oink, a surprisingly delicious combination of chocolate and bacon that is meant to fulfill two widespread cravings at the same time.
Chocolates ‘N More is the creation of James Rajala and Michael Naylor as a means of providing Danville with a store that both caters to their love of making chocolate and offers something unique to the community. Before the creation of Chocolates ‘N More, Rajala worked as a professional chocolatier which worked well when paired with Naylor’s strong fascination for making chocolates.
“When I worked in Florida, I had a friend that owned a chocolate shop, and when I needed a place to let off some steam I would go in there and just create for hours,” Naylor said. “That experience stayed with me for a very long time. So when I decided to start working again after retiring at the age of 52, which I don’t recommend at all, I called up James and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we open up a chocolate place? Danville doesn’t have one of those!’ and he said, ‘Great! Let’s do it!’”
Of course, as indicated by its name, Chocolates ‘N More has much more to offer than just chocolates and sweets. For anyone who is in the mood for something with a little less sugar, there is also a full deli in operation that features a wide selection of salads and sandwiches. Like the sweets, these sandwiches are made-to-order and have a variety of options for customers.
The management hopes to expand this part of the store to include a full salad bar for all of their health conscious patrons to enjoy.
In addition to selling delicious treats, Chocolates ‘N More is willing to cater for almost any event. It maintains a track record of satisfying any client and the sheer variety of treats that they carry lends itself to almost any occasion.
One recent client is Centre’s own Norton Center for the Arts. Shortly after the creation of Chocolates ‘N More, Rajala and Nayor set out to see if certain Norton Center shows could be accompanied by desserts from their store, allowing the audience to have something sweet and delectable to eat while watching the festivities that are taking place inside Newlin Hall.
“We had gone to see a few shows [at the Norton Center] and wanted to see if we could help out and maybe raise a bit of money for them,” Rajala said. “So we got in contact with a couple of people and got the concession stands.”
The store goes to great lengths to ensure that the treats that they provide go along with the theme of the night’s event. For example, for the recent Recycled Percussion show on Sept. 23, Chocolates ‘N More provided cookies covered with snacks such as chips and pretzels to coincide with the band’s vision of creating something out of what seems to be nothing.
“Centre is a wonderful place to prepare you for the world ahead and we just can’t get enough of that,” Naylor said. “Our ultimate goal here is that, when [you] need to get out of the Centre bubble, always remember that there’s chocolate right next door waiting for you.” Centre students are entitled to a ten percent discount on all goods in the store as well as unlimited coffee for only a dollar.