Think Outside the Box (of chocolates)

Mercantile Love Window

Now let's be clear: Valentine's Day is kind of like riding a bike with training wheels: if you're confident in your expressions of affection you don't wait for one particular day or limit yourself to certain kinds of tokens of that affection. But we forgive Valentine's Day it's amateur status because it's really very sweet. And the gifts we give are generally quite simple (and also often very sweet!) And yes, we have a great range of products purpose built for the day - from cheap and cheerful bags of cinnamon hearts and those message candies the kids all seem to really love to more sophisticated choices like the Laura Slack chocolate valentine boxes with dulce-de-leche skulls included or the heart-shaped shortbreads from Mary MacLeod's or the heart-shaped raviolis from Queen's Pasta (find those in the freezer) and a great selection of cards (note the "Hay Girl" Ryan Gosling card in the photo).

But let's think outside the box of chocolates for a moment. Here's a romantic accent you can apply any time of year on any occasion:

As you enter the store, to your left you'll find our cabinet of cocktail accoutrements - including a fine selection of aromatic bitters. Look for the cardamom bitters (we carry a couple but we find the Scrappy's is best for this application). Instead of buying an expensive champagne, get yourself a decent bottle of very affordable prosecco.  Prosecco is fermented in stainless steel tanks rather than wooden barrels so it's mostly about the brightness and the effervescence rather than the complex flavours. Put a few drops of the cardamom bitters in your glass of prosecco and you instantly add a kind of creamy, woody, exotic note to a very simple celebratory beverage. And if we sell out of the cardamom, there are lots of options to choose from perhaps the chocolate bitters would kill two lovebirds with one stone (so to speak)!

One of our regular customers from the neighbourhood is Matt See who comes in to stock up on various bitters - including the cardamom - that he makes great use of in his brilliant Chinatown restaurant, People's Eatery. Not a bad spot for a romantic night out, come to think of it, but at the very least you'll find inspiration on his cocktail list for delicious and inventive ways to use bitters on Valentine's or any other day.

Cheers to love. May we all have more of it!

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