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Foods to fall for: Sweet Northland treats for your chocolate fix

Heart-shaped Orios from Duluth's Best Bread are a sort of cookie sandwich. Bob King /

In honor of the the chocolatiest of chocolate-covered days, the News Tribune scouted out a few great ways to get a chocolate fix. Here are some of the top forkfuls, bites and sips.

Chocolate tort, Duluth Grill. Photo courtesy of Eileen Brown


Duluth Grill

How Sweet it Is, the dessert hub now housed at Duluth Grill, has a chocolate treat that defies everything you know about sweets: it's vegan and gluten-free. This tort is on a crust of pecans, medjool dates and cocoa powder. It's topped with vegan chocolate chips and coconut cream and drizzled with caramel. It's served with a dollop of coconut cream and another of avocado.

Baker Eileen Brown described the role of the avocado as similar to a side of raspberry sauce.

"It solidifies the flavors," she said.

Flourless chocolate cake, Zeitgeist Arts Cafe. Steve Kuchera /


Zeitgeist Arts Cafe

This cake, a staple on the dessert menu since the cafe opened in 2009, is a concise take on chocolate. It's smooth, rich, dense — no chitter-chatter chocolate. The no-nonsense cake, made in-house, is born of simple syrup and chocolate chips. It's baked in a water bath, frozen, then topped with chocolate ganache, according to head chef Taylor Peterson. It's served next to a large puff of whipped cream.

Hot chocolate at Amazing Grace. Christa Lawler /


Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe

This might be standard fare: It starts with a couple pumps of chocolate, but the whipped cream is homemade and drizzled prettily with dark, dark syrup. It's served at an immediately drinkable temp. And if you sip it in that one certain alcove — you know the one — you can start feeling pretty toasty, regardless of what weather is happening outside that window.

Orios, Duluth's Best Bread. Bob King /


Duluth's Best Bread

Listen. There is a certain kind of pretty famous snack, a sort of cookie sandwich, that has a chocolate interior and a sweet interior, and the version Duluth's Best Bread is making is not that, okay. This one is way bigger. And, in honor of Valentine's Day, it's shaped like a heart and has pink frosting.

Michael Lillegard, the baker behind the re-imagined snack, said he has tried this kind of cookie at various bakeries and never found one he likes. He also spent time experimenting with his recipe.

"The end result: It's a high-class version of a really pedestrian food," he said.

They aren't always available at the store, which is better-known for its bread, but they are today.