Alegio Chocolaté in Palo Alto
Wanted to alert everyone to the opening of Alegio Chocolaté in Palo Alto, across the street from Monique's. For the un-initiated, this store carries chocolate made by Claudio Corallo:
The proprietor, who is utterly charming, is in fact the cousin of Claudio (you can see the family resemblance). Not sure how long he will be at the store - I get the sense he is just there at the beginning to make sure things run smoothly. Apparently Steve Jobs used to trek up to the Berkeley store - they were getting so many visitors from Silicon Valley that they decided to open this location.
The chocolates are all exceptional, but the "Soft" 70% is to die for. I don't notice anything at first, but right when it was about to disintegrate in my mouth, I was hit with complexity I had never experienced in chocolate. No matter what you try, Manos (the owner), will probably kill you if you chew it.
There's also beautiful chocolates from Enric Rovira.
Hope you all can check it out. The chocolates are a little pricy - but I was saddened to hear that they apparently don't make a lot of money because the production costs are so high. Apparently each cacao bean is cracked open by hand to remove the germ, which is the most bitter part, before making the chocolate.
522 Bryant St
Palo Alto, CA 94301
I don't know if the Palo Alto store will do the tasting and presentation that is done in the Berkeley store? It is the most amazing way to spend an hour that my obsessively foodie family has ever encountered!
There is absolutely NO comparison of Corallo's 100% cacao to anything you've ever tasted before. It truly has "terroir" - a deep, earthy gravitas. No sugar, no salt, no vanilla, no additives. Then you try the 80%: some sugar, still nothing else. Approachable, but still so different than anybody else's 80%.
Then comes the 75% with Demerara-type sugar, large crystals that crunch as you eat the chocolate. It makes for a lively interplay of flavors in the mouth: some sweet, some not.
After that is a 73.5% blend, but this time the sugar is evenly melted in with the chocolate. The difference in taste between this and the 75% is astonishing.
It's even more of an education when you're given a taste of a high-quality competitor's chocolate to compare them against. Also a high-content cacao blend, but this has the familiar vanilla, salt and lecithin in it. Suddenly, you can immediately identify the strong flavor of vanilla, and how neutral/bland the chocolate tastes in comparison with the Corallo chocolate.
Alegio Chocolates are really amazing stuff. It's remarkable that our area is able to support three of his stores.
I believe the presentation/tasting is NOT done in the SF store, unless they've changed recently.
Berkeley location for Alegio:
1511 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA (Walnut Square area) also at: 11 Maiden Lane, SF