I really love where I live. There are mountains, tall trees, lots of lakes, and the Seattle Chocolate Salon. This was the second year of the Chocolate Salon and it was amazing! There were over 30 chocolatiers, as well as wineries, spa products, beverages, and jewelry. It was a tough challenge to get around to each booth, talk to the proprietors, and sample their wares, but for you, my dear readers, I made an effort. I hope you appreciate what I go through for you.
This is a quick overview of what it took me almost three hours to do. It's not complete- I didn't get to talk to every chocolatier - but it gives you an idea of what the chocolate salon was like. Enjoy the calorie-free visit!
The first chocolatier to greet us as we walked in the door was one of my favorites - Oh! Chocolate. This is a family run business with exceptionally nice people and amazing chocolates. They were dipping truffles and glacéed apricots to sample. Mmmmmm. The orange salted caramel I tried was amazing. Oh! Chocolate has three retail outlets and they offer classes at their Madison store.
Posh Chocolates boasts an impressive pedigree and their chocolates are beautiful as well as delicious. Though you'd have to travel to Montana to meet the delightful owners of this company, they do a brisk internet business and are looking to get placed in stores. Note to store owners - contact them! A sample of their drinking chocolate had my friend wondering if she could politely ask them to fill her water bottle with it. Isn't Ana a great advertisement for chocolate as health food?
Carter's Chocolates is located in Port Orchard, Washington. They have a wide selection of artistic truffles in a range of flavors that encompass liquors, herbs, and fruit. Friendly people with fun stuff going on at their store, it's definitely worth a stop in their shop if you're in the area!
Chubby Chipmunk came all the way from Deadwood, South Dakota to be at the salon. The truffle flavors they offered were lovely, my favorites being the key lime with white chocolate and the moosewood crunch. Their truffles are also huge. One of those dense babies would be dessert for a family of four. Sure, their truffles are all handmade, beautifully decorated, and made with pure ingredients, but what really sold me were their tins. They're so darn cute!
Crave Chocolates features beautiful work of art truffles. Would the skier in your life be thrilled with the ski collection which has a snow-covered mountain truffle? Or perhaps you know a chocolate-loving fisherman (or woman)? The flavors and gift baskets available are shown on their website.
Intrigue Chocolates gave a guided tour of flavors through their mouth-watering truffles. They had the stand-out basil that I loved last year as well as grapefruit, Mojito, HOT chocolate, and a few others from their menu of over sixty flavors. Their truffles are not dipped in chocolate, only rolled in cocoa powder so the flavor of the truffle really stands out.
La Chatelaine is owned by a man of Polish descent, raised in Paris, who now makes his home, as well as drool-worthy chocolates, in Bozeman, Montana. When I think Montana, I think cowboys, but this chocolatier might make me change my mind about that.
Chocolopolis is a year old chocolate shop in downtown Seattle that is like a mini chocolate salon. They carry chocolates from makers around the world. We got to sample single source truffles they'd made from chocolate from Claudio Corallo. It's amazing how much the taste changes from grower to grower. If you're in the Seattle area, be sure to check in with Chocolopolis to see what events they've got going in the store.
Divine aptly sums up these chocolates. I sampled the milk chocolate with hazelnuts and I think this might be the best milk chocolate I've ever tasted. Smooth, creamy, and not too sweet. I enjoyed tasting the chocolate and I felt even better about it when I read that Divine is a Fair Trade brand. Farmers receive a guaranteed Fair Trade price for their beans and they co-own the company. It's truly a sweet treat to enjoy your chocolate with a clear conscience.
William Dean Chocolates came all the way from Florida to showcase their gorgeous chocolates. If I were in charge of handing out awards, I'd give these guys a trophy for most beautiful truffles. Gorgeously shaped and colored, they were truly stunning. And the presentation boxes that came with the truffles were worthy of jewelry. The lighting was truly heinous, so my pictures didn't begin to capture how lovely their work is. Go to their website to see true art in chocolate form.
Suess Chocolates is another local shop. I'm so lucky! They had an mouthwatering selection of truffles to sample, but the one that kept us lingering over their table was the Matcha Truffle. I'm not a big green tea fan, but these truffles kept me coming back for more. Wowsa! The guys at Suess Chocolates also are kid-friendly. They have a child play section in their store and offer chocolate dipping experiences for kids. Needless to say, we're going!
L'Estasi Dolce offers Asian-Fusion confections like Lemongrass Ginger Truffles and caramel corn with almonds and oriental spices, as well as wine truffles. My favorite was the champagne truffle. Bringing out a small tray of these would be the perfect way to close a dinner party; elegant and tasty.
As a calorie-free way to enjoy your chocolates, Marco Polo Designs offered their chocolate-inspired jewelry collection. Beautiful, sparkling necklaces and earrings in chocolate colors were a nice break from the onerous duty of sampling chocolates.
What do you get when you pair a physics professor with a passion for chocolate? Amano Chocolates. Single source chocolate bars as well as (gasp of pleasure) single source cacoa nibs! I love sampling the different flavors from the different regions represented. My favorite was Madagascar and I'm thinking about how I can best showcase the nibs that came home with me. Cookies? Ice Cream? Pie?
Here's a short video that shows a bit about Amano and the chocolate making process.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to work out!