The Food Guy: Chocolate, cocktails and a French-alachia dinner

When I tell you I finally made it down to sample authentic European pastries, cakes and gelato at Sokolata in Spring Hill, I’m saying I did it in a big way.

Like, too many visits to count over the past few weeks.

But hey, there are so many gorgeous goodies to devour that it would be unfair not to make a noble attempt to try them all.

My success? Not even close. Of the dozen things I’ve tried so far, there are dozens more still taunting me.

The verdict? Sokolata’s baked treats are terrific. Stunningly decorated, definitely delicious and pretty authentic compared to similar offerings from the patisseries and konditorei I’ve visited throughout Europe.

Owned by Manoli and Aoleen Stavrulakis of Creperie Café, Pizza Barbarossa and former Mykonos fame, the new bakery near Thomas Hospital uses less sugar (and no buttercreams or rich icing) to create desserts that are typically lighter – but no less satisfying.

A perfect example is the phenomenal Mille Fueille, a simple puff pastry layered with vanilla cream and strawberries that will knock your socks off. There’s also a variety of fruit tarts, cookies, croissants, muffins and more.

Or how about these delights?

The Banoff is a cup filled with banana mousse, sliced bananas, caramel toffee, cookie crumble and whipped cream. Elker Feraro features hazelnut cream and smoked almonds. The Sokolata Tart blends blackberries, chocolate mousse and vanilla cream.

With Sokolata being the Greek word for chocolate, you won’t want to miss Greek treats like the walnut cake or Ravoni, a coconut cake drizzled with syrup.

And then there are the cakes! Ready to grace to cover of any food magazine are creations like Black Forest, Almond Vanilla, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Guava, Orange and more. I picked up a White Chocolate and Cherry Mousse Cake for a birthday party that was out of this world.

But enough of my teasing. Make your way down to Sokolata and let me know what YOU think.

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A new benefit for Fund for the Arts is putting an upscale spin on the traditional pub crawl with the “Capital Cocktail Classic” from 5-7:30 pm on Saturday, Aug. 17.

During the event, attendees can check into any or all of four participating downtown bars to receive one signature cocktail paired with tapas-style plates at Bar 101, Black Sheep, The Block and Sam’s Uptown Café — and will then vote for their favorite drink at the end of the night.

Bar 101 will pair Rose Sangria featuring rose wine, triple sec, coconut rum, peach schnapps, orange juice, pineapple and cranberry juices with a California roll, while Black Sheep with offer a vindaloo curry samosa and mint chutney with a Sangrita cocktail made with achiote paste, house bloody mix and Jimador Silver tequila garnished with a Tajin rim, basil leaf and orange zest.

The Block’s Helsinki Cosmo with pineapple vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and club soda will accompany pork bruschetta, and Sam’s will serve a Daiquiri ala Danny paired with Rumhaven jerk shrimp cocktail.

Tickets, which include all four cocktails and food samples, are $40 each through this Friday, then $50 each (or $90 per couple) from Saturday through Aug. 17. All proceeds from the event will go to Fund for the Arts, which has supported 12 Kanawha Valley arts organizations for the past 38 years.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit “Capital Cocktail Classic 2019” on Facebook.


Right after that, Capitol Market hosts its second “Market Table: A Farm-to-Fork Fundraiser” of the year with a gorgeous outdoor dinner under the lights that same night, Aug. 17.

Chef Paul Smith has created an Appalachia-meets-France dining experience that will begin with a Champagne reception with passed hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 pm, followed by a four-course feast.

First course: J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works ricotta mousse-stuffed peaches with candied black walnuts, living greens and minted balsamic vinaigrette

Second course: Hernshaw Farms mushrooms and chèvre on open-fired Charleston Bread baguette with pickled radish and zucchini blossom

Third course: Elmcrest Farm fire-braised chicken with heirloom tomato pie and dauphinoise potato with olive oil powder and pinot noir jus lie

Fourth course: Holl’s Swiss Chocolates chocolate bomb with lavender florentine tuile and muscat huckleberry caramel

That menu! Guests will also enjoy all-they-care-to-drink wine selections from The Wine Shop at Capitol Market.

Tickets, which include all food and drinks, are $115 each, with all proceeds benefitting Capitol Market, a 501©(3) nonprofit. For more information or tickets, visit the “Market Happenings” section on or

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston

Gazette-Mail. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”

Funerals for Saturday, December 14, 2019

Akers, Trela - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.

Cochran, Jacob - 3 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Cosby-Matthews, Hattie - Noon, First Baptist Church of Charleston, Charleston.

DeMarino, Jane - 1 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Gunther, Jewell - 1 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, Chapmanville.

Hall, Betty - 1 p.m., St. Andrew United Methodist Church, St. Albans.

Holbrook, Linda - 1 p.m., St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Pinch.

Johnson Jr., Delbert - 11 a.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

King, Edna - Noon, St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Charleston.

Kiser, Kenneth - 6 p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Lawrence, Mamie - 2 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

McCutcheon, Alice - 1 p.m., Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson.

Mills, Melinda - 5 p.m., New Baptist Church, Huntington.

Rannenberg III, Thomas - 2 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Ray, Sandra - 1 p.m., Crooked Creek Church of Christ.

Roach, James - 1 p.m., First Baptist Church, Ravenswood.

Tyler, Gloria - Noon, Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

Ulbrich, Sandra - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Williams, Laura - 2 p.m., Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home, Flatwoods.

Wood, Ruby - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.