Area Businesses Dipped in Chocolate, CollaborationLENOX, Mass. — Area businesses are banding together to add a little kick to winter and the local economy. Next month, more than 22 inns, restaurants and retailers are dipping into Chocolate Berkshires, a month-long event sponsored by the Berkshire Visitor's Bureau. Lindsey Hammond, the Bureau's director of sales and marketing, says Chocolate Berkshires provides an opportunity for local businesses to liven up an otherwise sleepy time in the Berkshires.
"This is a county-wide promotion. There's not a lot going on in February and it's a good way to extend the Valentine's Day season," she said in a phone interview. "This isn't just limited to lodging and restaurants. We want to cast the widest net possible."
Delectable chocolates from the Red Lion Inn.
That net includes the Red Lion Inn, the Berkshire Bach Society, Chocolate Springs, Gypsy Layne burlesque, Qualprint and the Berkshire Historical Society, each of which will include the delectable dessert on their menus, rooms, performances and more. Joshua Needleman, owner and head chocolatier of Chocolate Springs, said that Chocolate Berkshires is the perfect testing ground for future multi-business collaborations.
"The inspiration for this was to see a little more collaboration around Berkshire County," he said. "Chocolate is a great medium to express creativity. Restaurants are making special desserts, there will be screenings of chocolate-themed movies in the county, [and] people are doing artistic pieces. Everybody can really do their own twist on it."
Chocolate martini glasses, chocolate tours and chocolate spa treatments are among the many creations Chocolate Berkshires has inspired. It also may have gotten the ball rolling for future event-based collaborations.
"Let's see if this can get some legs," Hammond said. "We are doing this with no money – no funding. It's sort of been people doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. We all want to get more visitors here. And what a fun way to go out and explore your community and see what's happening in your own backyard. We're going to see how this works."
Collaboration is not the only goal of Chocolate Berkshires. According to Needleman, chocolate provides a more obvious opportunity as well.
"It's the ultimate comfort food," he said. "It's also a neutral item, it's not political, you don't have to pay to be involved. It's fun and hopefully it will be a springboard for other events."
Chocolate Berkshires is still accepting applications for participants. For more information visit its website or Facebook page.