After this extended season of partial solitude, it's interesting to think about what long-term effects it may have on our tolerance for loud, crowded and tight spaces. After this passes, will it bother us if the next table is in our elbow space? Will large family gatherings roar back, or will we stretch out this imposed distance into a regular routine? Perhaps tolerances will have shifted. Probably not, though.
But a few things will never change, such as the comfort of baked goods and treats around the holidays, when, thankfully, calories don't count. And then there's an explosion of sparkling Christmas lights throughout a neighborhood; it just has a strange, happy effect on people.
Dallas by Chocolate Tours has organized a socially-distanced, self-guided Christmas lights tour and, bonus, they provide pastries and sweets from local bakeries. Guests will guide their own four-wheeled sleigh through lighted Dallas neighborhoods, including the Park Cities, Electric Lizzyland, Swiss Avenue, the House of 100 Santas and more.
At some of the spots, a host will greet you with warm treats from local bakeries, including brownies and chocolate bonbons. Participating bakeries include La Tarte Tropezienne, The Dough Dough, Isabelly’s Chocolate & Sweet Treats, Kate Weiser Chocolate and Sift and Pour Bakery.
Tours start Dec. 18 and last through Dec. 30 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Tickets are $31 for adults and $26 for children 5 to 10 (younger kids are free). For information, call 972-814-5997.
Other Holiday Highlights at Local Bakeries
Thinking about pushing the boundaries of your baking talent with a Buches de Noel? But why? Stop being silly and sit down. Let Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie figure out how to roll cake while you focus on holiday cheer in the form of caramel toffee and chocolate hazelnut. Bisous is also selling gingerbread house kits. Bonus: The houses are already assembled, so you don’t have to explain to the kids that sometimes gingerbread houses are lean-tos.
Do you know what's socially distanced every day all day? A cake vending machine. And you know what else? If you swing by Cake Bar's outdoor-facing cake vending machine to indulge in a slice, it's no one's business but your own. They have some beautifully designed gift boxes with samples of different cakes, cookies and treats for $40. Preorder only. That would be a great shotgun companion for any light tour.
La Casita Bakeshop gets the award for turning lemons into lemonade this year; just when they opened their retail spot, a dream realized with a long line of voracious fans out the door, the pandemic hit. They transitioned to an online ordering platform and curbside pickup at both their own space and through some partners. They've recently extended their flaky, buttery reach into Deep Ellum through Amor y Queso, which means you can get a charcuterie plate at the same time you get a seasonal cruffin, croissant or one of their gingerbread village kits.
Kessler Baking Studio is holding steady with its 15 different cookies each day along with eight brownies and blondies. But, they also have some special Christmas tree-shaped goods, plus decorated shortbread cookies. You’d be errant to walk out of the store without one of the Mexican hot chocolate cookies stuffed in your face, then another one for the drive home. This chocolate cookie is rolled in habanero-infused sugar before it’s baked. Order online.
CocoAndré Chocolatier has indulged in the new chocolate bomb craze, including vegan bombs. Flavors include Lucky Charms, dark chocolate-peppermint, milk chocolate, white chocolate-peppermint, and dark chocolate. Plus, the chocolate Scrooge is on-brand for 2020.