Make us your home page

Dining planner: Chocolates and other sweet temptations for Valentine's Day

For Valentine’s weekend, sweets for your sweetheart are a must.

For Valentine’s weekend, sweets for your sweetheart are a must.

Finding sweets for your sweetheart

For Valentine's weekend, sweets for your sweetheart are a must. If chocolate is your thing, you pretty much can't beat Week 2 of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, which is a "Chocolate Fantasy" with wine and chocolate tastings, a gingerbread house building competition, fencing, children's cookie decorating, whirlwind wedding wars and mural competition voting. It runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at the Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $17.95 advance, $20.95 day of; $9.95 advance, $12.95 day of (ages 5-12); $16.95 seniors/students; $10 dogs. Toll-free 1-800-966-8215. But we also thought it would be fun to look at some of the Tampa Bay chefs and bakers who make an assortment of sweet temptations. In the kitchens of the bay area, some of our favorites include:

Dough Bakery

2602 S MacDill Ave., Tampa; (813) 902-1979

Opened right next door to Datz in 2013, Dough is doing the baking for Datz (1,000 hamburger buns a week), but it's also grab-and-go pastries and breakfast in the morning; ladies-who-lunch staples like chicken salad on mixed greens at lunch; and swanky date-night desserts and dessert wines in the evening. It all goes on in a building that is pure whimsy, part MacKenzie-Childs fanciful design, part Alice in Wonderland, with trays of doughnuts, delicate tartines of smoked salmon. Oh, and bacon lattes, bacon eclairs, bacon cheesecake, duck fat fries, house-infused vodkas and craft beers.

Frida's Cafe & Bakery

9700 Ulmerton Road, Largo; (727) 587-7077

An ambitious bakery that has slowly added a menu of laudable hot panini, cold sandwiches and salads. Dishes come with a cakey wedge of coconut bread, sweet enough to sub for dessert, but with a nice nutmeg kick that goes equally well with a cup of bacon-studded potato soup or a delightful winter salad of mixed greens, toasted pecans, dried cherries and little fluffs of goat cheese all in a nice raspberry vinaigrette. The pastry options are high-flying, with petit fours that look like mice, mousses swirled into tulip-shaped chocolate shells, fancy little European cookies and birthday cakes so pretty one hesitates to mar their surface with candles.

William Dean Chocolates

2790 West Bay Drive, Belleair Bluffs; (727) 593-0656

Handmade, artisan chocolates and confections, crafted on site.

St. Pete Bakery

1961 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 954-8837

Home to baking and pastry classes led by chef Michael Ostrander, this bakery also offers made-from-scratch cakes, pies, pastries, desserts, ice cream, chocolates and coffee.

Sweet Divas Chocolates

400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg; (727) 379-4567

Chocolates, cupcakes, muffins and sweets, plus gelato, specialty coffees, champagne and wines.

Schakolad Chocolate Factory

401 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, (727) 892-2400; 408 S Howard Ave., Tampa, (813) 259-1099

Custom retail chocolate "boutique," with wide array of European-style chocolates and truffles made fresh on-site, chocolate gifts and gift boxes.

An Afternoon, or Evening, in Paris

Couples choose from a five course French dinner with DJ dancing (Saturday) and a five course French brunch with jazz (Sunday). Both include an intimate cabana, free drink and a photo. $125 couple. The Loft Event Lounge, 709 W Lumsden Road, Brandon. (813) 685-8777. 7-10 p.m. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Dinner Cruise

These Yacht StarShip cruises book up fast, but there's a variety of romantic cruises all weekend long to choose from with prix fixed menus, DJ entertainment, long stemmed roses and champagne. Yacht StarShip, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 223-7999. Weekend Dinner Cruise: $69.95, $49.95 children. 7-10 p.m. Friday; Weekend Lunch Cruise: $59.95, $44.95 children. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; Weekend Early Dinner Cruise: $79.95, $59.95 children. 4:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday; Weekend VIP Dinner Cruise: $119.95. Adults only. 8:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday; Lunch Cruise: $69.95, $44.95 children. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday; Early Dinner Cruise: $129.95, $89.95 children. 3:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday; Late VIP Dinner Cruise: $149.95. Adults only. 7-10:30 p.m. Sunday; Late Dinner Cruise: $129.95, $89.95 children. 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

A Beau-Tea-Ful Romance is Brewing

The Paris themed Valentines High Tea features candlelit tables, music and carriage rides ($10). $26.95. Tilted Teacup Tea Room, 103 S Saxon Ave., Brooksville. (352) 593-4111. Seatings at 4, 5, 6 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

A Touch of Red

A formal dinner and dance party with open bar, full buffet, DJ music, entertainment and prizes. $100. The Birchwood, 340 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-1080. 7 p.m. Saturday.

Dining planner: Chocolates and other sweet temptations for Valentine's Day 02/10/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 11:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  2. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway


    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.
  3. A scene from "Epiphany."
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 22


    Clearwater Jazz Holiday: The Avett Brothers: The Avett Brothers, with their blend of folk, bluegrass and rock, lead the lineup. 1:30 p.m., Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. $16 per day, $45 reserved, $170 VIP. (727) 461-5200.

    AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15:  (L-R)  Joe Kwon, Bob Crawford, Seth Avett, and Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers pose for a portrait at the "May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers" Premiere - 2017 SXSW Conference and Festivals on March 15, 2017 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW)
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 21


    Conor Oberst: The Bright Eyes mastermind will be joined by opener, the Felice Brothers. 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $30.50-$36. (727) 791-7400.

    Handout photo of Conor Oberst, performing Oct. 21 at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Credit: Grandstand Media