Can local chocolate and beer go together? Christy and Shannon Fox think so, and they are having fun with it.
The owners of Evolve Chocolate Truffles have embarked on what they describe as a "collaboration of alchemy" with six Whatcom County breweries. By infusing local beer into the chocolate truffles with some other ingredients, they add layers of flavors that result in a fun surprise, said Christy Fox.
"It's still sweet, but you still get the other flavors," Christy Fox said.
The Evolve owners said the local brewers were happy to give it a try. The six new truffles have beer flavors from Kulshan Brewing Co., Boundary Bay Brewery, Aslan Brewing, Wander Brewing, Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen and North Fork Brewery & Beer Shrine. The Chuckanut Brewery truffle, for example, has a pilsner mixed in with apricot and saffron, while a truffle with Aslan's Ginger Rye also has bacon and caraway seed flavors.
Six turned out to be a nice number from a packaging standpoint, so Evolve is selling them as miniature six-packs. With Mother's Day and Father's Day coming up, Christy and Shannon are thinking the truffles make a good locally made gift. The truffles will be sold at the six breweries, the Community Food Co-op stores in Bellingham and online.
Since opening in January 2013, Evolve's business has been steadily growing, both in wholesale and in the retail markets. They are booked at weekend events and have a pop-up store that has done well. The couple went in with the idea that this area is big on buying local but were still surprised at how strong that sentiment is in Whatcom County.
"It was amazing how true to home it (buying local) is here," said Christy Fox.
For more information about Evolve Chocolate Truffles, visit the company Facebook page or go to evolvetruffles.com.
EDALEEN TO BUILD LARGE DAIRY STORE IN BLAINE
Blaine soon will have a big boost of retail in its downtown core.
Edaleen Dairy has begun construction of a 3,200-square-foot store at 458 Peace Portal Drive, on the west side of Interstate 5. The store will be similar in focus to the one in Lynden, offering a wide variety of ice cream as well as other dairy products, including milk, said Mitch Moorlag, general manager of the company.
Moorlag expects the store to be ready in the early fall, possibly September. The company also operates dairy stores in Sumas and on Guide Meridian.
Moorlag said the company has had an eye on Blaine for a while and moved forward when it was able to acquire a piece of property that's a high traffic area that also feels like it's in the heart of the community. While Canadian traffic is a factor in the company's business plan, Moorlag said what's more important is first being a part of the local community.
The building, designed by JWR Design in Lynden, will meet the design standards for Blaine's downtown core, Moorlag said. It will have an open floor plan with indoor and outdoor seating. Eagle Construction is the general contractor on the project.
Edaleen offers around 45 flavors of soft-serve and hard-dip ice cream. Moorlag said that while ice cream is very popular when the weather warms up, they are also able to sell it in winter.
"It's considered a comfort food for many," he said.
Dairy products are particularly popular for Canadian shoppers, given the amount of money they can save by purchasing them in Whatcom County. When the Canadian dollar weakened compared to the U.S. dollar earlier this year, Edaleen noticed a dip in sales, Moorlag said.
"We try to focus on the quality of our products to keep them coming back, and not the exchange rate," he said.
BELLINGHAM'S SHRIMP SHACK STILL OPEN, UP FOR SALE
I received an update from Shrimp Shack co-owner Sarah James, who said that while they've had some prospective buyers, they have not sold it yet. If they cannot find a buyer, the plan is to close the restaurant at the end of the business day on Saturday, May 24.
The important thing James wanted to let customers know is they are currently open regular hours.
"Many of our customers think we are closed, and we receive many phone calls daily from people asking if we are still here," she said in an email. "Our goal is to find a buyer to keep it going. We have dropped our sale price to well below market value at $50,000."
Restaurant hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Anyone interested in the business can call 360-752-9100.
Seasons Fashions, a clothing store at Birch Bay Square, has applied for tenant improvement permits to go into Bakerview Square.
The Fountain Bistro and Drive-thru is making some changes. According to a Facebook post, the restaurant will be transitioning the drive-thru window into a pick-up window. The transition is being made in an effort to better serve customers. The opening time also will be changing to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends.
Thomas Palmer and his wife, Danielle, are closing the Oyster Creek Inn at 2190 Chuckanut Drive at the end of business hours on Wednesday, April 30. They are opening The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub at 205 E. Washington St. in LaConner. Thomas Palmer said a new owner is taking over the Oyster Creek Inn and expects it will reopen after some remodeling. Palmer said his new LaConner restaurant will have a similar style menu, but he is adding items such as shepherd's pie and burgers to create a pub feel.