Joshua Needleman makes his own chocolate from scratch in Lenox. Rich and smooth and intense. Now pause here a moment. Breathe in the rich smell of it, and imagine the possibilities. Dark chocolate caramelized hazlenuts. Melting bars of ganache flavored with raspberry or spice.

His Chocolate Springs is half kitchen and half alchemy, a wizard’s lair. And it is also a café. You can find assorted chocolates to take home in whimsical flavors and shapes. You can also sample them over a cup of coffee. Or snowshoe through Kennedy Park to rest here with a cup of melted-chocolate-in-a-mug.

His smooth chocolate becomes the base for cakes and cookies too, and ice cream sandwiches filled with gelato, and some of the tenderest scones in the county. Not to mention the mondiant — milk or dark bark filled with dried fruit and nuts.

The café is usually open late into the night, a rarity in the country, and on the right evening a musician will sit down at the piano to play jazz standards quietly under the sound of satisfied people warming their hands around hot chocolate and drifting in curious conversations.