A dear friend and I happened upon a quaint chocolatier shop during an errand running outing. We chatted up the cashier while making a purchase, and was informed that the shop had chocolate tasting parties in the evenings. Dear Friend decided she should have a chocolate tasting party in honor of her upcoming birthday. I happily attended!
Brian Pelletier, owner and chief chocolatier (sounds like a character from a Dumas novel, right?) at Kakao, was our culinary tour guide for the evening. He offered a brief overview of the origins of the art of chocolate making, and then he became my BFF. (For at least 2 hours.) He told us about how his shop takes all the calories and fat out of chocolate each Wednesday evening. And then he gave us chocolate. mmmmm.... It was not the sold-in-gas-stations-chocolate-shaped-and-lacking-flavor-type of chocolate. It was the kind of chocolate that you wanted to let melt in your mouth and then swirl around before it was gone. The kind that invites your tongue to the dance floor. We tasted cacao nibs. Think the flavor of cocoa powder, but crunchy. This will be appearing on a dessert at home very soon! This is full of antioxidants and other wonderful things for you.
We tried lavender truffles. They steep dried lavender in cream to make the insides, dip them in chocolate and oh-so-carefully, place a lavender bud on the top.
Then we tried a dark chocolate truffle with a candied lemon peel on top. Mmmmm....
...and pate de fruits. (Think the adult version of orange slices from your childhood.) And this brittle was certainly the confection with the most personality of the evening...Pecan Chipotle Brittle (a.k.a. Cowboy Brittle). It was sweet and crisp, but had a git-along-little-doggie sunset of spice at the end of each bite.
But these...these were my favorites. Sea salt caramels. If you like sweet and salty together...stop the bus. (Even if you don't, you have to at least try it sometime.) Creamy, salty, chocolatey. Did I mention creamy?
Come to mama! I purchased a package of 4 of these caramels. I shared one with my dear hubby. The other 3...let's just say they didn't make it even 12 hours at home.
I'm sure Brian and his staff would love to have you come and try some of these confections in person, or he would want you to know that he ships just about anywhere! Promise me one thing, though, if you go...bring something back for me!
Oh yes, I almost forgot to share the best news of all...since chocolate grows on trees, it would fall into the fruits/vegetables category...so make sure you get 4 to 5 servings every day! ;)