Plus chocolat? Oui, oui!

There’s no such thing as too much chocolate in Portland. Coming to the West End Sept 12: A boutique selling French artisan chocolates.

Chocolats Passion, to be located at 189 Brackett St., is owned by Catherine Wiersema, who previously ran the business from Belmont, Massachusetts. Wiersema crafts mostly molded chocolates with French-style ganaches; chocolate bars with additions like nuts, fruits or salt; and a hazelnut chocolate spread – think an upscale version of Nutella.

Wiersema says her chocolaterie will also focus on selling the French candies and Paris caramels she loved as a child growing up in France. Darcy Brennan-Poor, former pastry chef at Little Giant, will work with her on chocolate and pastry production.

Chocolats Passion will serve French teas and hot chocolate in the cold months, along with foods from local companies such as Renee by the Bay and Joyful Spirit.

Chocolats Passion will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.



Hella Good Tacos, 500 Washington Ave. in Portland, served its last taco over the weekend. The owners posted on Facebook last week that they were closing down because they “decided it’s time to let go and try something new.”

Josh and Melissa Bankhead ran Hella Good Tacos as a food cart before transitioning to a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2014.


As summer winds down, many of us are trying to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The Bramhall Pub and Roma restaurant on Congress Street in Portland has got your back.

They’re hosting an outdoor Bacon-Bourbon-Beer Fest from 2 to 8 p.m. this Sunday. The $10 admission gets you into the event, and pays for the live music and a souvenir cup, said Mike Fraser, owner of Bramhall and co-owner of the Roma. Food and drink will be sold separately.


The food vendors – Nosh, High Roller Lobster Co., Vignola, The 5 Spot and The Marshmallow Cart – will create bacon-centric dishes for sale and for a competition.

All ages are welcome, but you’ll need to show an ID to get a drinking bracelet.

The bands playing are Tigerman Woah, Brzowski, Savor, Dear Bones, Thee Icepicks, Sealevel & The Memorial Skylight, and Ben Wilson of Acadia.

Tickets are available on


A team of residents from the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center, a local senior living center, rocketed to first place in the town of Madison’s first ever Dynamite sandwich cook-off. Jim Darroch of Backyard Farms, the tomato grower that sponsored the cook-off, said the seniors were “the sentimental favorite.”


Third place went to Steve DeSanctis, whose family recipe for Dynamites is believed to be the original and whom I wrote about in the Aug. 15 Food & Dining section, along with his team, La Mia Famiglia. Team Daughters of Isabella took second place.

The cook-off attracted 250 people eager to sample the Dynamites, a sandwich made with meatballs and vegetables in a homemade marinara sauce, served on a hot dog bun.

Darroch said 308 people paid to enter the contest, and between team entry fees, admission and raffle sales, the event raised $1,347. The money will be split between Special Olympics Maine and the MAC Rockets, which plans to compete in the next Special Olympics.

Backyard Farms matched the funds raised, donating its share to the Cpl. Eugene Cole Memorial Fund in honor of the Norridgewock officer who was killed in the line of duty in April.

Every Dynamite entered into the contest appeared to be different, according to Darroch. Cheeses ran the gamut from Parmesan to shredded cheddar, while vegetables ranged from the traditional peppers and onions to celery and zucchini.



Pineland Farms’ cheddar cheese, aged for six months, received a gold medal at this year’s Eastern States Exposition, also known as the Big E, in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The cheese got the highest score in the “Cheddar – Aged up to 12 months” category.

Pineland, located in New Gloucester, also received bronze medals for its Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar and Smoked Cheddar cheeses.

Silvery Moon Creamery in Westbrook won a bronze medal in the “Flavored Semi-Soft Cheese” category for its Tuscan Herbed Curd.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

Twitter: Meredith Goad

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