No binoculars needed! This safari is all about indulging in sweetness — and supporting local businesses.

By Rachel Chang
December 10, 2020
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Flourless GF Chocolate Cake at Urban Plates in Fairfax
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

Destinations have long catered to the sweet tooth of chocolate lovers, with the Neuhaus Chocolate Factory in Brussels offering all-you-can-taste samples, Lindt opening the world’s biggest chocolate museum in Zurich, Club Med’s La Rosière in France creating a chocolate orange-themed room for the holidays, and a Willy Wonka-like factory being built outside of Amsterdam

Now, Fairfax County, Virginia, is joining the list by launching a chocolate safari to encourage people to support local restaurants this winter by indulging in their chocolate-filled dishes. 

Treats on the trail include Seasons 52’s Belgian chocolate s’mores, Nordic Knot’s dark chocolate-filled pretzel croissants, Caboose Commons’ affogato with chocolate gelato and espresso shots, and Fogo de Chao’s chocolate brigadeiro

Chocolate cake Silver Diner in Farifax
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

More unique items include chocolate butterscotch loose-leaf tea at Elden Street Tea Shop and the Yuhu chocolate milk stout from Ono Brewing Company, made with chocolate from neighboring River-Sea Chocolates, which itself has a hot chocolate bomb on the safari list. 

Cookies and Milkshakes at BGR Burger Joint in Fairfax
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax
Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse at Seasons52 in Fairfax
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Fairfax

For a sweet holiday gift, L’Auberge Chez Francois has Valrhona chocolate truffles in gold embossed boxes.

While the list is ever expanding, it’s just one of the efforts the county is making to ensure the local restaurants continue to thrive safely as temperatures drop and coronavirus numbers rise

“With winter looming ahead, compounded by a global pandemic, our local restaurants need our support more than ever,” Barry Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax, said in a statement. “We remain dedicated to helping our hard-working restaurateurs and dining establishments in every way we can and encourage the Fairfax County community to come together in a fun and delicious way.” 

The county has also launched #SaveTheDateNight to encourage people to share meals with loved ones while supporting local eateries through takeout, delivery, outdoor heated dining, and limited indoor dining. As part of the campaign, Visit Fairfax will give away gift certificates to select restaurants on their Facebook and Instagram pages every Thursday starting on Dec. 10.

The Fairfax County Restaurant Trail mobile passport also makes it easy to track the current status of all local offerings, with some also providing deals like a free appetizer or 50% off wine.