A Love Affair with Cacao: Lola’s Valentine’s Day Chocolate Shop Guide
Is it just me, or is there amor in the air? In preparation for El Día del Amor y la Amistad, I’m sharing a Valentine’s Day gift guide of sorts that includes seven chocolate shops you should know about, all owned by women and/or Latinx chocolatiers, along with a few of my favorite confections from each shop.
FUN FOOD FACTS: Modern day chocolate is derived from the cacao tree, which is as old as the ages and was first cultivated in Mesoamerica. The Aztecs considered xocolatl to be an aphrodisiac, which might help explain why Moctezuma – Aztec emperor from 1502 to 1520 – reportedly consumed 50 chalices of chocolate daily during his reign.
7 Women and/or Latinx Chocolate Makers
Casa de Chocolates – Since 2012, Casa de Chocolates has been creating unique, artisanal chocolates inspired by a passion for Latin American culture, culinary sensibilities and aesthetics. My sister gifted me a box of these delicious chocolates and they were love at first bite. Flavors include guayaba, mole, cajeta, maracuyá carmel, tamarindo, pétalos de rosa, and hibiscus. BONUS: You can purchase an assorted box for pairing with wine or beer.
Happy Organics – Día y Noche: Mexican Hot Chocolate Tonics with CBD & Adaptogens are perfect to make a relaxing taza of hot chocolate. These chocolate tonics are the perfect combination of chocolate and CBD, with just a hint of cinnamon and passionflower and can be dissolved into milk, water, or your liquid of choice. BONUS: “Creating a delicious experience that would promote the overall wellness of the drinker is the goal of our 90% Dark Adaptogenic Mexican Hot Chocolate Elixirs.”
High-End Confections – I was recently gifted a box of CBD cake truffles by High End Confections and am hooked. The gift box includes four delicious truffles in fudge brownie with dark chocolate drizzle, carrot cake with ginger snap crumble, strawberry shortcake with strawberry cookie crumble, and peanut butter cup with a peanut butter drizzle. BONUS: Each truffle contains 10mg of CBD and they are perfect little gifts for everyone from your amor to your amigxs!
Masienda Champurrado Mix – This isn’t necessarily a chocolate shop, but Masienda sells a delicious champurrado mix that is perfect for chocolate lovers. Champurrado is an atole, a masa-based beverage, that consists of cacao, sugar, water or milk and spices. While especially consumed on Dia de los Muertos and Las Posadas, champurrado is enjoyed all year round for breakfast throughout Mexico, specifically in Oaxaca. BONUS: Masienda partnered with Latina-owned Cultura Chocolate for the chocolate in this champurrado mix.
Cultura Chocolate – At Cultura Chocolate you can find anything from Mexican drinking chocolate mixes, to large and mini chocolate bars. I can’t wait to try the Limited Release Mezcal + Sal bar made with white bean cacao from Tabasco, Mexico. The dark chocolate bar is infused with Nuestra Soledad Mezcal from Oaxaca and garnished with sal con chapulín. BONUS: Cultura Chocolate is a Latina-owned bean-to-bar chocolate making company with a mission to create truly amazing chocolate that has greater transparency, sustainability, and accessibility.
Chuao Chocolatier – I first learned about Chuao chocolates while living in San Diego, which is where the company is based. Their lineup includes unique flavors such as Baconlixious Chocolate, Cheeky Cheeky Churro, Potato Chip, and Oh My S’Mores. My personal favorite is Firecracker, which is made with sea salt, a dash of chipotle and popping candy crackle in dark chocolate. BONUS: Chuao chocolates maintains a commitment to fresh ingredients, free of artificial preservatives, additives, fat substitutes, colorings, and flavorings. The company also gives back to the community in a number of ways!
Five Star Truffles – This tiny shop is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District. The owner and only employee, Euan, handcrafts over 100 pounds of truffles a week using imported French chocolate and recipes that his mother taught him in Yucatán, Mexico. Luckily for us, he now ships nationwide. BONUS: Euan makes some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted!
Photos used in this post were obtained from each company’s respective website.