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Barlovento chocolates -- YUM!

Ruth Lafler Jun 20, 2007 11:05 PM

At the Grand Lake farmers' market Saturday I ran across a local chocolatier I'd never heard of: Barlovento Chocolates of Berkeley.

What can I say: they're really good! I tried the Meyer lemon, mint, raspberry and honey cardamom flavors, and they were all spot on: creamy chocolate ganache in a thin chocolate shell, infused with the essence of their featured ingredient. Often I find that herbal confections have a harsh note, but these captured the true flavor of the herb (the mint tastes like fresh mint, not mint flavoring) without any bitterness.

I also bought some fleur de sel caramels, and they're excellent as well, although I think I prefer the Recchuitti version with the salt under the chocolate to the ones with the salt on top. They also make some bars and truffles.

In addition to several farmers' markets they also sell they're product at Lulu Rae in Oakland.

  1. Eat_Nopal Jun 21, 2007 10:30 AM

    Interesting... I wonder if there is anything to the name as Barlovento is a region of Venezuela known as one of the first places to successfully transplant Cacao during Colonial times and a producer of fine, organic Cacao often used in single source Chocolates.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Eat_Nopal
      Ruth Lafler Jun 21, 2007 06:04 PM

      Well, when I asked where she was sourcing her chocolate, she said it was single source from Venezuela, so that fits.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        Eat_Nopal Jun 22, 2007 09:08 AM

        So what did you think of the chocolate itself... anything noteworthy?

        1. re: Eat_Nopal
          Ruth Lafler Jun 22, 2007 09:54 AM

          It's hard to get much impression from the thin shell on a confection. Next time I'll try one of the bars! In general, I prefer chocolates from the Americas to chocolates from Africa.

    2. t
      TerriL Jun 21, 2007 08:41 PM

      Saw them at the San Rafael Farmers Market this am.

      2 Replies
      1. re: TerriL
        Ruth Lafler Jun 21, 2007 09:22 PM

        Did you try them?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          TerriL Jun 22, 2007 09:28 PM

          No -- I'm always there in the morning, when chocolate is at its least appealing. If you want to try making your own, there's a great recipe for fleur de sel chocolate caramels on the epi web site.

      2. rworange Jan 16, 2008 04:39 PM

        Any updates? Did you try any of the bars? Anyone else?

        They now have a website (see Place record)

        Went to Grand Lake for the first time in a long time and just had a sample of the mint which was nice. Wanted to do a little more research before buying. I did not realize how inexpensive they were ... bars are $4 - $6 and are
        Plain = $4.00
        Almond = $6.00
        Crystalized Ginger = $5.00
        Smit Ranch Dried Cherries = $6.00
        Cacao Nib = $5.00
        Fleur de Sel = $5.00

        The truffles are an absolute steal ...
        4 piece = $5.50
        8 piece = $10.00
        12 piece = $15.00

        Especially considering this statement from their site "artisan chocolate with a farmers market ethic. We apply fresh and local to every truffle we make".

        Any one tried the chocolate cherries which inspired and launched the business?

        Interesting truffle flavors (in addition to those in the OP
        Mayan Hot Chocolate Truffle:
        Passion Fruit Truffle
        Tarragon Truffle
        Cinnamon and Vanilla Bean Truffle:
        Tea Truffle Ti Kwan Yin oolong tea
        Espresso Truffle kona blend of coffee
        Kirsch Truffle
        Gingerbread (seasonal)

        Being a microwave afficionado, I intrigued by the website's suggestion to zap the marshmallow cookie chocolate for 5 seconds.

        According to the website it seems there might be a shop on 2nd St in Oakland.

        Barlovento Chocolates
        638 2nd St, Oakland, Ca 94607

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange
          jsgjewels Jan 16, 2008 07:55 PM

          We've been buying them at the California Avenue Farmer's market for about a year. Still haven't gotten around to the bars, but the truffles are great. I enjoy the key lime, kirsch and tea. I recently tried the chocolate cherries and found them a little too chewy and lacking pronounced flavor (unlike the truffles).

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