Decadence has a new address. After 27 years on Marco Island, the Chocolate Strawberry has moved to a new location. The purveyor of sinful delights has moved from their former location in the Shops of Marco to 937 North Collier Blvd., next door to Cocomo’s.
“Moving is a gamble,” said Chocolate Strawberry owner Nigel Redwood. “The previous two owners both said they were going to move, but never did.” He was looking for more visibility and traffic, he said, and everyone he has spoken to supports the move, he said.
“I’ve had nobody say it’s a worse location. We’ve got a very good restaurant next door in Cocomo’s.” Redwood, like the store’s three owners before him, is from England, as is clear when he speaks about what makes his business special.
“Why should people come here? Because we’re unique — we’re absolutely unique,” he said. “Nobody on Marco Island does what we do. We make most of our chocolates, and all of our ice cream, including our gelato, right here on the premises.”
One secret to keeping the fresh taste of the ice cream, said Redwood, is the temperature at which it stays.
“It very rarely gets frozen. Our freezers are kept just at freezing, so it doesn’t get hard frozen.”
They make ice cream in 30 rotating flavors, including maple walnut, coconut, coffee, butter pecan, and Superman, which is really vanilla but comes in wild swirls of blue, orange and pink — “very popular with the kids,” said Redwood.
Even more exotic is the Chocolate Strawberry’s assortment of homemade Italian gelato, in flavors such as wild strawberry, cherry vanilla, red raspberry, and triple dark chocolate. Gelato, said Redwood, has only half the fat of ice cream, and much more intense flavors.
“We make it with a fresh fruit mix,” he said, and fruit concentrate that he imports from Italy.
Speaking of chocolate, the top sellers in the store are the chocolate turtles, truffles and molded chocolates, said Redwood. While the turtles and most other chocolates are made in the store — you can see the process in action — the truffles come from a supplier in Texas. “They’re lovely truffles, you’ll never beat them,” he said.
Ryan MacDade, who works next door at Cocomo’s, dropped in to pick up homemade milkshakes for himself and a co-worker. “We’ve had a lot of people at the restaurant asking when you were going to open,” he said.
The Chocolate Strawberry also sells greeting cards, novelty items such as chocolate body paint, and a large of selection of candies including Gummi bears, Blow Pops, and Nerds. “We are very much tourist-orientated,” he said.
The Chocolate Strawberry sells all the typical souvenirs, from toy manatees to alligator puppets, but one top-seller is unique — dog biscuits hand-dipped in the store’s luscious white chocolate. People love their pets, said Redwood, and like the idea of bringing a treat home to Rover after their vacation.
Also dipped in your choice of milk, white, or dark chocolate are the strawberries that give the store its name. With the reputed heart-healthy qualities of dark chocolate, what could be better for you than a combination of said chocolate and a fresh strawberry plucked from the berry patch?
Really, though, the Chocolate Strawberry is all about indulgence, not health food. To get your fix, stop by the store in its new location at 937 N. Collier Blvd.