CACAO in PDX
I just read a review of this new chocolate shop in Portland.
Am desperately jealous of PDX locals. Clearly a reason for a special trip from SEA. Would be curious to hear additional reviews. Any other sit-and-savor sweets?
Yeah, a few of us at PortlandFood.org have been talking about it. Here's what I wrote:
None of the desserts at Basta's tonight really interested us, so we made a bee-line for Cacao. Great little shop. Well-organized, comfortable, and inviting with a great selection of chocolate.
John outlines the inventory well. I think the biggest selection of bars is from Cluizel. There must be 20-30 different types -- single bean, single plantation, blends. They even had some little kit that I didn't pay too much attention to, but seemed to have a variety of discs ranging in chocolate from white to milk and so on, along with nibs and beans.
The largest variety of palets/truffles/bon bons also seemed to come from Cluizel -- and I'm not complaining. All ran $2, pretty much the going rate around town (but lower than you pay for high end stuff normally at a Neiman Marcus). We tried several and they were quite good. Relatively thin shells, creamy interiors, and subtly flavored so the chocolate stood out first, the way I like them. They also had Frans and Chocolat Moderne, as John notes, that you could buy individually. Save those for another day. They had a bigger inventory, though, of the Chocolat Moderne in chic little gift packs. Very modern(e), very elegant. Will definitely be getting some of those for future yes-i'm-sorry-i'm-such-an-idiot-will-you-please-forgive-me-and-have-sex-with-me-in-the-future gifts.
They also had one kilo bars of chocolate, cacao nibs, drinking chocolate kits, Ibarra Mexican chocolate (though they may bring in Mayordomo from Oaxaca which would bring me back A LOT) and the like. A few books, too. A couple of the more interesting items were cocoa and saffron scented body oil and a cocoa fragranced perfume. Spendy but interesting. And they say chocolate is an aphrodisiac so perhaps you could truly get that TAG body spray moment.
Had the chocolate drink, of course. $4. Very rich, creamy, and intensely chocolatey. Very. They use the same sort of machines that Mio Gelato uses except they don't use a thickening agent. It shows in both the texture, which coats the mouth but isn't pudding-like, and the sharpness of the flavor. It has a bit of a bitter finish, but that's mainly because it's such a strong dark chocolate flavor. Honestly, I think this method of delivering chocolate is more chocolatey than just eating a bar. You would have to let the bar melt and coat the entire inside of your mouth to the get the same effect. It's a pretty well-rounded chocolate they're using. They also have a cinnamon-laced version and a more traditional hot chocolate/cocoa.
I'll be updating my hot chocolate report sometime and I feel pretty confident that this and Sahagun are a step above the rest. It's interesting to have them only a couple blocks away from each other.