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Nyack People & Places

Nyack People & Places: Valentine’s Day Chocolate Odyssey

by Mike Hays
The smell of chocolate permeates Nyack’s WEMA (WEst MAin) district, the area surrounding Main Street and Franklin Avenue. Within 100 paces of the corner, four astounding dessert makers are offering an ideal chocolate-loaded day for your Valentine sweetie. Start with a slice of chocolate fudge pie and coffee at Pie Lady & Sons, move on to a lunch of crepes and mini-pastries at Patisserie Didier Dumas, cap off the afternoon with a hot mocha or hot chocolate at Adams Chocolate, and finish the day with dinner and a chocolate dessert at The Hudson House.
The New York Times recently challenged readers “to start building stronger connections in your life by planning an unusual date with your romantic partner.” The WEMA Valentine chocolate journey fits the challenge in so many ways. Whether you take your chocolate journey on Valentine’s Day or on the following weekend, remember that science shows that when people share new experiences they are happier. Plus, it’s chocolate.

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 Pie Lady & Son: Breakfast and coffee

Pie Lady & Son has a near-mythic history in Nyack. The newest iteration of this beloved franchise opened on February 1, located at 125 Main Street right next to the town parking lot and Thursday Farmer’s Market. The ambiance of the Upper Nyack store has been preserved but the new one has more space. Gingham curtains frame windows perfect for watching people parade down Main Street. The fun part is the menu. Pie Lady & Son pies, muffins, ice cream, and coffees. The chocolate fudge is an extremely wicked way to start Valentine’s Day. This is one of the friendliest counters in Nyack. If Bri, sister and partner of Wil Tyler (the “Son” in Pie Lady and Son), serves your pie, her smile will make you feel as if you got a special heart-shaped pie.

Patisserie Didier Dumas: Crepes and mini-pastries for lunch

Didier brings a bit of the old world to the new by creating traditional European style pastries with an American twist. Located on Main Street, 100 steps north of the corner of Main and Franklin, the patisserie first opened in 2006 and was remodeled after a July 2014 lightning strike caused a serious fire. The silver lining of the fire was that Didier built an expansion into two seating rooms. In the first, two showcases for pastries and cookies line one side of a light-filled room. An added joy to ordering either sweet or savory crepes is watching them be made from the front room. A second dining room is an option with its own light-filled window.
Après crepes, there is a wealth of sweets available, from macaroons to cakes. A small box of heart-shaped chocolate mini-pastries pairs well with coffee, tea, or the remains of your glass of Boudreaux. Lingering for a moment, the WEMA street scene becomes the Marseille of Didier Dumas’ youth.

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Adams Chocolate: Afternoon mocha

Adams Chocolate store is a Nyack secret and the perfect spot for a Valentine’s Day afternoon mocha or hot chocolate. Adam was a staple at the Nyack Farmer’s Market for many years. Recently, he has renovated the space where he makes his organic chocolate into an inviting coffee bar. The tiny, artistically-designed space, is located at 145 Burd St., just north of Franklin and 100 paces from the corner of Main and Franklin. Sometimes you will see a chalkboard sign on Franklin pointing up Burd, to Adams coffee bar. Soon, construction of new apartments across the street will change the ambience of the WEMA area.
Adam has long made organic dark chocolate “bars” from imported South and Central American beans. He roasts them himself, grinds them without additives for days until they reach a rich smooth texture than puts them in bar molds. Or, the chocolate will end up as hot chocolate or part of a mocha. The seating is limited but worth the time to stay and puzzle out the amazing array of art in the high-ceilinged room.

Hudson House: Evening dessert

The evening is still young and there is time for a special Matt Hudson Valentine’s Day dessert in the Hudson House front room bar (or, for a special Valentine’s dinner and desert in the restaurant).  Matt Hudson, owner, proprietor, and dessert maker, has been manning the front of the historic Hudson House since 1990. Located only a few steps from the corner of Main and Franklin, the building once housed the Nyack Village Hall. Hudson has kept many of the period details from the early 19th century, including the two-cell village jail that now houses the wine cellar.
Hudson offers a stunning array of desserts every evening. Two rich chocolate desserts stand out to cap Valentine’s day. First up is the crunchy-bottom, double-chocolate, peanut butter pie–a peanut butter mouse surrounded by a chocolate cookie crumb crust on the bottom and a chocolate ganache top, hence the double chocolate. A classic chocolate-raspberry ganache torte is also available, topped with fresh raspberries and crème anglaise.
See also:

Photo credits: Mike Hays, Didier Dumas
Michael Hays is a 30-year resident of the Nyacks. Hays grew up the son of a professor and nurse in Champaign, Illinois. He has recently retired from a long career in educational publishing with Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill. Hays is an avid cyclist, amateur historian and photographer, gardener, and dog walker. He has enjoyed more years than he cares to count with his beautiful companion, Bernie Richey. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

HRHCare Community Health logoNyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is brought to you by HRHCare and Weld Realty.

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