The winter offseason will bring new life to Gruto’s in Purcellville, as the popular ice cream store will temporary make way for a chocolate shop.
The Chocolate Palette, a locally-owned artisanal seasonal pop-up, will sub-lease the space at Gruto’s Soft Serve at 141 W. Main St. in Purcellville beginning Nov. 15.
“This is the perfect use of Gruto’s space in our off-season,” said Erin Wilson, co-owner of Gruto’s Soft Serve. “We often get customer requests to stay open year-round and offer winter treats, but that’s not really our niche. Having the opportunity to keep the space open to someone who can offer a gourmet chocolate-themed menu is an incredible way to serve the community.”
The move is a new start in the community for Chocolate Palette owner Cheryl June, who had an overwhelming response to her booth at the Purcellville Farmer’s Market.
A long-time baker, cake artist, and lifetime chocolate lover, June moved to Purcellville with her husband, James, and their three daughters after James’ recent Army tour in Thailand. Prior to that, the family lived in Korea for two years, where June started experimenting with chocolate, creating hot chocolate recipes to test various flavors and textures for friends and family.
When The Chocolate Palette opens to the public Nov. 15, hot sipping chocolate flavors (all proprietary recipes) will include the Italian Job, Aztec Life, Classic, and Salted Caramel by the Sea. All varieties are a “drinking experience,” stated June, different than your store variety hot chocolate.
“Hot cocoa tends to be a thin, watered-down, high-sugar beverage,” she said. “Sipping chocolates are much richer and made with less sugar. Dark chocolate pieces are slowly melted into warm milk and/or heavy cream. It’s an entirely different—and luxurious—product.”
In addition to the hand-crafted sipping chocolates, the menu will include Italian coffees and fresh, made-to-order ebelskivers, a traditional Danish sphere-shaped pancake. Ebelskivers will be served with a variety of fresh handmade toppings, both sweet and savory, including a warm ganache sauce and a prosciutto & gruyere cheese sauce, to name a couple. Single-serving desserts, such as tiramisu, chocolate truffles, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache tarte, will also be available. Once the shop is open, customers can place large-scale dessert orders for parties and special events.
June said being at Gruto’s is the first step in fulfilling a life-long dream. If the concept is well-received, she hopes this seasonal experiment will lead to a permanent sit-down chocolate experience.
To learn more about the grand opening and follow The Chocolate Palette go toTheChocolatePalette.org.
The Chocolate Palette will lease the Gruto’s space through March 15, when the ice cream shop will resume operations.