Chocolate Tasting at Chocolate Box Cafe (review+pics)
- pleasurepalate May 5, 2007 12:32 AM
Last March I set up a chocolate tasting at the Chocolate Box Cafe in La Canada and what an extravaganza it was. Our evening consisted of sampling 16 different chocolates. Thankfully, they were just 16 halves versus 16 whole chocolates, but still I bet many of us were in a sugar coma for days afterwards.
The tasting started with the one of the co-owners, Harmik, giving us info about the Belgian chocolates they sell at the shop as well as his own background. It turns out that Harmik and his partner used to work in MIS Consulting, but opted to leave that behind to work in the chocolate business. Good for them and good for us! They also talked about how all their chocolate is hand-made or hand-pressed and shipped directly from Belgium. They do not manufacture or make any of the chocolate they sell, but what they do is rotate the flavors so that you get variety.
I honestly can't remember all the various chocolate we sampled. With 16 different chocolates, I think my palate just went into over drive, but there are some that stuck in my mind and those are the ones I'll mention. The first chocolate was a pure truffle dusted with cocoa powder. I think they called it Painter's Palate. Whatever they called it, it was heavenly. That truffle was creamy and melted in your mouth right away and what I liked about it was that it was sweet, but not overly so.
In no particular order, there was the almond truffle that was coated with almonds and also had the taste of almonds in the ganache filling. Since almonds are my favorite nut, this particular truffle was a hit with me. The chili pepper truffles definitely left a little bit of heat at the back of your throat after you consumed it, but not so hard core that you couldn't have one or two more, if you so desired.
My absolute favorite chocolates were the ones with hazel nut. There were milk chocolates with the hazel nut ganache that was absolutely heavenly. I also really enjoyed the whole hazel nuts that were dipped in milk chocolate along with the chocolate that looked like a shell sandwich. One of the shells was dark chocolate, the other shell was milk chocolate and sandwiched in between was the hazel nut again - dark and milk chocolate living in perfect delicious harmony.
One of the last things that Harmik brought out was orange peels dipped in dark chocolate. By that time, I didn't think I could handle any more chocolate, but the citrus flavor of the orange peel and the dark chocolate actually was a nice way to end our chocolate tasting.
Other things to note is that the packaging for these chocolates are absolutely gorgeous and these boxes can really be used for keepsakes long after the chocolates have been enjoyed.
As part of the tasting, we could also have any one of their coffee and/or hot chocolate drinks. Since I'm not much of a coffee drinker, I went for their hot chocolate. Wow, they actually make their hot chocolate from actual chocolate shavings that come in a variety of flavors. Right now, the only two I remember are mint chocolate and ginger chocolate. I had the ginger chocolate and loved it. You had the sweetness of the chocolate, but the ginger gave it the drink a bite that made my tastebuds jump.
Along with the chocolates and hot beverage drinks, they also serve gelato, which apparently is shipped all the way from Italy, which I'll maybe check out once the weather gets warmer.
Overall, it was a fun event. I can't say that I loved every single chocolate I tried, but that's the point of tasting and sampling a variety so that you'll know what you like or don't like and I certainly found many that I did like and would purchase at a later date.
To see pics, go to:
Chocolate Box Cafe
714 Foothill Blvd
La Canada, CA 91011
It was truly a wonderful event, Abby. I think I loved every chocolate that I ate (and I am not a huge "sweets" person). Personal faves will always include anything with marzipan and the chili one. Harmik was charming and helpful. The store is adorable and like Abby said, they package their chocolates beautifully. RE: the gelato - I think it would be great to compare theirs to Bulgarini's in Altadena which has been getting a lot of play on this board (by me also). Did not get the chance to try Chocolate Box's gelatos, but definitely will. Great shop, great chocolates. Can't be beat!!
My husband and I actually had gelato there on Tuesday night. He had plain vanilla and I had mint chip. I think he enjoyed his, but mine was SO minty, I could only take about 3 bites. It seriouly tasted like I was eating mint toothpaste!
I will say, however, that the two teenagers who wre working in there were extremely pleasant (that was a nice surprise!) and offered us samples of the chocolates-which we didn't try.
I am hoping to go to Bulgarini's today!