Like Feet Walking for Chocolate

Indulgences, Etc.
229 East Colfax, Denver
303-771-0758
Website under construction
Not open Sundays; open every other day until 6
Bus directions: The 15 stops outside the store
“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” Forrest Gump

NOTE: Indulgences, Etc., has closed. The only Belvedere Belgian Chocolate shop now open in the Denver area is the one in Boulder. The factory is located in Castle Rock.

I’ve been sampling chocolate in Denver for two weeks now, and part of me is disappointed that I still weigh the same as when I started.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this blog. I’d done blogs before, and it was like talking to myself. This time I wanted to talk to other people.

I knew that the Democratic National Convention would offer up all kinds of craziness and probably come with a built-in audience, but then what? What else about Denver could I use to show people its heart and mine without sounding too self-absorbed or too much like a travel guide?

I picked chocolate because it’s my passion. I assumed it would be easy: I’d eat lots of candy at unique shops, maybe even experience the unusual sensation of having enough chocolate. But I didn’t anticipate the challenges to my taste buds. The difficulty of deciding which truffle was best.

I’ve discovered that every store hides a story.

Take Indulgences, Etc., formerly of Cherry Creek, now located on Colfax near the Capitol, and selling Belvedere chocolates. After talking to Laurie and Ivan (the proprietors) and Marie, whom I met on my first visit to the store, I found out that maintaining a chocolate store in Cherry Creek was not easy. I would have expected a small specialty store featuring Colorado chocolate to flourish there, but irregular foot traffic and high rent motivated the owners to move downtown. It’s a common story in Denver and around Colorado, for homeowners as well as businesspeople.

Indulgences opened on Labor Day weekend, 2008, during the Taste of Colorado just down the block at Civic Center Park. Laurie said the foot traffic in the new location was much better. She was full of plans for the future, involving wine and chocolate pairings and martini and chocolate pairings and art exhibits and donations to charity, but said that first she would just like to get established.

Did I just say Indulgences was a small store? Perhaps it was in Cherry Creek, but the Colfax location is huge compared to the other stores I’ve written about so far. It feels open and spacious. At one end sits a bar, awaiting their liquor license, and they also serve Colorado Novo coffee and tea and baked goods.

I’ve been to the Belvedere store in Boulder several times and had thought each location was the same (like the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores), but apparently not. Last year Laurie and Ivan bought American Country Candies, operating in Fort Collins since 1930, and moved the equipment to Denver. When they get the back of their new location remodeled into a kitchen next month, their store will be one of the few places in the country making old-fashioned ribbon candy.

I had a revelation on this visit: maybe I should actually show my readers the chocolates, instead of just stuffing them in my mouth and writing about them later, so here’s a picture. Laurie gave me 5 samples, and I bought 6 truffles. My favorites were the seashell (a typical Belgian chocolate with crunchy hazelnut filling); the sugar-free chocolate with coffee (sweetened with Maltotol, a natural corn extract, according to the Internet; the square one with the coffee bean); the green tea, which had a really long, dark finish (upper left on the cookie); and the caramel with rock salt (the only truffle on the plate). I had to buy another caramel and rock salt for my husband.

When I left at 6, after hanging out for an hour, I stopped to take a picture of the window. Downtown Denver has lots of cool details like that. People were finding their way home from work, and a bus drove by spewing diesel fumes, sporting this ad, “Take Care of Our Summer Air (ozoneaware.org).” And when I got on my bus, I sat next to to a man reading Ivan’s War.

Denver also has its quirks.