Saturday, February 5, 2011

Local Chocolate for Valentine's? Hit up Cacao

While I fully comprehend that Valentine's Day was created to sell cards and things covered in hearts, alongside frightfully overpriced red roses, sometimes it's really wonderful to receive a little gift from someone you love, right as the winter doldrums start taking their toll. Since this item is on my Valentine's wish list, I wanted to share the goodness.
Cacao Laboratoire opened in 2009 as the storefront of Chef Kristen Hard's chocolate company K Chocolat. Chef Hard had sold her artisan truffles wholesale for 5 years before opening the delightful Inman Park boutique, sharing those truffles with the general public. The chef spent years researching chocolate, mainly from the Caribbean, and is now hailed as the first southern bean-to-bar producer.
So, as I'm sure you've realized at this point, this is not a quantity-over-quality-Whitmans-box-o'-chocolates type of place. Each piece of chocolate is carefully conceived and handcrafted. They are precious, but the outstanding flavors are worth it. They are special treats to be savoured with a cup of tea, or a mug of coffee, or after a delicious meal.
Favorites so far have been the: Lemon Curd, not the first chocolate-citrus combination that comes to mind, but is wonderfully bright tasting; the Fig Preserve and Balsamic, the fig comes through first with a delicate sweetness, and then you get the faint tang of the balsamic; and also, the Blueberry Beet, which is very subtle, sweet with the slight spice of the beet coming through at the end.
If you're thinking chocolate, I recommend giving Cacao a look. It's really wonderful to have something locally produced and that is so lovingly created.

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