February 4th, 2022

Tiny Travels: Visit this monastery tasting room for love and chocolate

Two figurines are place in front of a halved chocolate with pink filling.

Life can be like a box of chocolates – and it can also be a highway. You and your paramour don’t have to squabble over ‘90s pop culture analogies this Valentine’s Day if you take a drive south of McMinnville to visit the tasting room of the Brigittine Monks, whose award-winning truffles, chocolates and fudge are best enjoyed à deux.

It checks all of the boxes for romance: There’s the drive there from McMinnville – both ways that come up on your map will take you past vistas of family farms, patches of ponds, towering oak copses, with glimpses of livestock and wildlife from an alpaca farm to a cow pasture. We might have even seen an eagle aerie in there. Both 99W and Hwy 18 can be taken to get to the Brigittine Monastery, which operates as part of a Brigittine order stretching back to 1370 in Sweden. 

In the shop you’ll find the tasting room, stocked with prints of hand-drawn illuminated manuscripts, rosary beads, Catholic reading materials, and, yes, the reason we got out of bed today, a glass case of those world-class chocolates. 

We need to talk about the chocolates. First, there are three main products– fudge, truffles royale and petite truffles are handmade by the monks as part of their completely self-supporting operation. The large ones are quite gigantic – you can feel good about sharing (if you have to), and the small ones are a more traditional truffle size. The monks’ latest release is a limited edition Valentine’s Day truffles, with three different pink interiors and flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. 

Then there is the heavenly fudge, not your ordinary holiday neighbor gift but, some say, the most luxurious and lovely fudge in the world. The Tiny Travelers always like a bold claim, and this one certainly holds up with smooth chocolate fudge with a base of marshmallow creme. Its taste is what the Tinies would call dangerous. You might look at the box and decide it came in a portion of one (but do cut it in half if you’re on a date).

A serene pond along a path with silhouetted deciduous trees in the background in front of a blue sky.
A sunny Willamette Valley day in February is not something to take for granted!

A properly sugared walk around the property’s pond is probably called for. It’s a classic setting perfect at any season but especially for a winter’s walk since there are multiple species of migrating waterfowl who hang out there. As a plus, you might find you and your date are the only people there, since the monks spend much of their days in solitude and prayer. 

Isn’t that what we all want – time alone with our love, and the sweet rush of confections handmade by prayerful postulants? Is that too much to ask for in this life? We say no. 

Note: New COVID procedures means the monks are a little less present in the staffed tasting room, but visitors are more than welcome. Wear your mask, and follow the request for silence on the property – that’s half of the fun. 

A walking path bisects a serene pond.  Trees in the distance gleam in the sunshine under a blue sky.

Visit the Brigittine Monastery Tasting Room:

Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
23300 Southwest Walker Lane
Amity, OR, 97101

Pick up a truffle and fudge in McMinnville:

Harvest Fresh Natural Grocery
251 NE 3rd St
McMinnville, OR 97128

905 N Baker St.
McMinnville, OR 97128

NW Food & Gifts
445 NW Third St.
McMinnville, OR 97128

Blue Raeven Farms 
20650 OR-99W
Amity, OR 97101

Illustration of writer, Emily Grosvenor

Emily Grosvenor is Editor of Oregon Home magazine and sustainability coordinator for #mcminnvilledentist.