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If you’re looking for the Land of Oz, follow the yellow brick road. If you’re looking for a place where life is like a box of chocolates, follow the Historic Downtown Bethlehem Chocolate Trail 2024, which spun a confectionary dream of chocolate bliss on the Saturdays bookending Valentine’s Day.

As temperatures flirted with 60 degrees Feb. 10, chocolate aficionados followed their map along the chocolaty trail through the downtown, popping into their favorite shops and restaurants to sample delectable sweetness.

A $40 passport was the golden ticket for chocolate lovers to traverse the trail at the annual event presented by the Downtown Bethlehem Association Feb. 10 and Feb. 17.

“It’s been a really good time,” Eryka Sanderson, one of the managers of Chocolate Lab, said as owner Arlene Borckel was busy making chocolate in the back of the shop.

“We’ve had a good flow of traffic of people shopping for Valentine’s Day and from the trail,” Sanderson said. “It’s been wonderful.”

Chocolate Lab offered four treats made especially chocolate trail samplings: white chocolate strawberry daiquiri cups, dark chocolate cookie butter cups, milk chocolate pomegranate cocktail truffles and milk chocolate or dark chocolate Oreos.

“Any trail we participate in brings so much traffic,” Becky Ciafrei, manager of Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, said. “They are probably our best days besides holidays and summer for business. It’s great exposure.”

Grandpa Joe’s offered milk chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels to trail tasters.

Bitty and Beau’s Coffee was offering Iced Salted Caramel Mocha Cold Brew or Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate for those on the chocolate trail to sample.

“We’re getting a lot of traffic from the trail,” Ashley Peavy, staff member, said.

The chocolate trailblazers could also cast their vote for the sweetest treat for a chance to win and help select the winner for crowning the chocolate champion.

Participating merchants and restaurants were: AM Luxe, Bethlehem House Gallery, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Chocolate Lab, Christmas City Spirits, Clusters Handcrafted Popcorn, Crave Nutrition, Edge Restaurant, Fegley’s Bethlehem Brew Works, Franklin Hill Vineyards, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, Hand Cut Crystal/Bethlehem Christmas Shoppe, Historic Hotel Bethlehem, Historic Bethlehem Welcome Center, Knobs ‘N Knockers, McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar, Musselman Jewelers, Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom, The Gem Shop and Twisted Olive.

Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, part of Lehigh Valley Health Network, was presenting and bag sponsor; Bazzini was chocolate sponsor.

One can just imagine Jackie Gleason strolling down Main Street, smiling as he takes in the view and voicing his hallmark catchphrase, “How sweet it is!”

Press photos by Tami Quigley Chocolate aficionados – and some furry canine friends – check out the Historic Downtown Bethlehem Chocolate Trail 2024 on Main Street Feb. 10.
Eryka Sanderson, one of the managers at Chocolate Lab, welcomes chocolate lovers as they approach the counter.
Neville Gardner, owner of Donegal Square and McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar, left, shares a smile with McCarthy's staff, from left, general manager Ivan Alicea and chefs Eric Lehman and Jill Oman. The pub is temporarily closed due to a small fire that broke out in the early morning of Feb. 3. In addition to offering samples of Kerrygold Butter Toffee, the pub gave out soup made from the produce it had left and asked for donations for the wait staff.
Becky Ciafrei, manager of Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop, checks the chocolate trail passport of a customer behind a table displaying milk chocolate and dark chocolate pretzels available for tasting.
Ashley Peavy of Bitty and Beau's Coffee describes the Iced Salted Caramel Mocha Cold Brew and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate available for sampling.
Neville Gardner greets chocolate lovers in front of McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar.
Visitors eye up the confectionary goodies at Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop.
Dressed up for Valentine's Day, Chocolate Lab welcomes chocolate lovers who want to sample sweet treats.
Customers enjoy the offerings at Bitty and Beau's Coffee along the Chocolate Trail.