Sarah Hart has brought back last year's anatomically correct chocolate heart
($18), along with various flaming, tattoo-styled or bird-adorned heart icons
. The shop is also cranking out heart-shaped dark and milk chocolates, plain or filled with hazelnut praline, and a heart-and-love-bird lollipop ($4). But what we're really looking forward too are miniature version's of Alma's unrivaled chocolate cake ($5).
(If you make a special order, you can get your hands on the shop's chocolate bread pudding.) And of course, there are Hart's usual selection of excellent bon-bons
—the habanero caramel crown can't be beat. You can pre-order by calling 517-0262, or drop by the shop. While you're there, nab one of Alma's new drinks: the Mayan Milagro (chocolate and almonds), Caramelita (habanero caramel sauce and chocolate) or The Shot (just a shot of melted chocolate, sans cream). AVAILABLE AT: Alma Chocolate, 140 NE 28th Ave., 517-0262. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday, 11 am-4 pm Sunday. Bon-bons available at both Cork locations.
Xocolatl de Davíd
David Briggs makes chocolates for those of us who would rather eat a bag of Fritos than a plate of brownies. All of the confections he sells as Xocolatl de Davíd
. They're delicious. But we're here to tell you about his most over-the-top creation to date: Foietella
($25 for seven ounces), a blend of chocolate and foie gras that smells like Snausages
and tastes like sin. It's unbelievable stuff. You may have heard the raving over Beast's foie gras bon bon
. This is even better, so overwhelmingly rich that we've been eating it by the quarter-teaspoon.
Briggs recommends pairing the stuff with fresh baguette (see above) or a good shortbread cookie. If you aren't keen on eating meat with your chocolate, try one of his delicious bars. The Raleigh bars ($3) are tiny blends of pecan, nougat and caramel. They taste like a grown-up Milky Way. Even more to my liking are the large orangette and piment d'espelette bars ($9). The former gets a surprising amount of flavor out of the zest and candied peel of California navel oranges (so much that I swore Briggs must be using some weird heirloom citrus); the latter pairs the chocolate with Europe's only AOC-designated chile
. It's warm and smoky. AVAILABLE AT: Foietella is only sold at Laurelhurst Market (3155 E Burnside St., 206-3099) and Briggs' kitchen at Meat Cheese Bread (1406 SE Stark St., 234-1700). Bars are sold at Cacao, The Meadow, Cork and Foster & Dobbs, among other locations.
owner Elizabeth Montes' latest mad-science creation is Ka-Pow!
, which she describes as an "attempt at making coffee more like chocolate." Say what? These are little demitasse-sized bars of ground coffee mixed with cocoa butter—just the fat, not the chocolate part—and salt.
Some have bits of chocolate inside of them, inverting the classic chocolate-covered coffee bean. They're delicious, but be careful—eating one is like downing a couple cups of espresso. If you're looking for a little less of a buzz, try a Miracle Pill: a French prune with candied orange peel dipped in bittersweet chocolate. AVAILABLE AT: Sahagun, 10 NW 16th Ave., 274-7065. 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday.
The latest and greatest from New Orleans transplant John DePaula is a Coconut Caramel Fleur de Sel,
a coconut-tinged variation on his very popular caramel fleur de sel
. Other recent addition to DePaula's gorgeous line include a marzipan with candied kumquat (the most sensual of small citruses), an espresso anise and a crème de cacao ganache with cinnamon vanilla marshmallow. AVAILABLE AT: Online and at Cacao, 414 SW 13th Ave., 241-0656; Pastaworks; and The Meadow.
Jesse Manis and Aubrey Lindley have hundreds of bars on offer, but there are three I really, really recommend: Domori 70% from Ecuador, which tastes like bananas; the wonderfully acid Patric; and the modestly crunchy cocoa beans sold under Cacao's own label, of which we can never get enough. 414 SW 13th Ave., 241-0656. 9 am-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 9 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday.
There's lots of local chocolate to be had at this salt-and-chocolate-and-wine-and-flower shop. These days, they make their own, too: a half-dozen single-origin chocolates embedded with fine salts. Yum. The Meadow, 3731 N Mississippi Ave., 388-4683.
Cheryl Wakerhauser has a few special confections prepared for heart week, including the chocolate truffle heart ("a
single caramel almond truffle and cinnamon macaron hide inside a heart of chocolate mousse") pictured above. But we're betting that the real winner will be the one who brings home the diamond earrings, a pair of which will be one of the boxes of chocolates sold at each location on the morning of Feb. 14. AVAILABLE AT: 3402 SE Division St., 232-4407; 3901 N Williams Ave., 282-6539.
For vegans and other diet-restricted lovers, check out Missionary Chocolates
, an almost humorously earnest company run by naturopathic physician Melissa Berry. Missionary's line of all-vegan, all-organic, gluten-free and fair-trade truffles
includes several really good confections: The "sweet raspberry heart" is amazingly fruity and the "coconut silk" is a creamy delight, but the real winner of the bunch is the "Meyer lemon explosion,"
which blends lemon oil and lemon puree with coconut milk and chocolate in an intense citrus blast. It seems impossibly lemony, as strong as a lemondrop but much, much tastier. AVAILABLE AT: Darn near everywhere, including Whole Foods and Food Front Co-op, 2375 NW Thurman St., 222-5658, foodfront.coop.
Another excellent vegan option is Black Sheep, better known for its animal-free pastries, which carries a line of caramels and cups that are so good you'd think they were made with butter. They're inexpensive, too, at $2 apiece or less. AVAILABLE AT: Black Sheep Cafe, 523 NE 19th Ave., 517-5762. 8 am-4 pm Monday-Friday, 10 am-3 pm Sunday.
There are many other local chocolatiers whose wares I haven't sampled recently enough to include: Wingnut Confections
, Northwest Sweets
, Coco & Co
, Canby's Ladybug Chocolates
, Cocoa Velvet
, Lulu's Real Chocolate Alchemy
(which is actually a Lebanese company), Truffle
, Spreading Pleasure
, Sweet Masterpiece
, Van Duyn
, and probably more that I don't even know about. If you have any favorites to share, please do so in the comments.