Last night while snow fell in Chicago, some girl friends and I were treated to chocolate tastings and hot cocoa flights at Cocoa + Co. Yes, it was just as perfect as you imagine. Cocoa + Co. is a heavenly chocolate shop in Chicago’s Old Town (it’s dangerously close to my home). It’s part cafe where they mix of coffees and hot drinking chocolates, and part shop where they sell artisanal chocolates from around the world. And lucky for me, they invited me and my friends to experience their latest offering on Gilt City: a private chocolate tasting for up to eight people (it’s just $100!).
Cocoa + Co. is owned by Kim Hack, who led us through the tasting. Her passion for chocolate is contagious, and she taught us so much! I realized that even though I eat chocolate almost every day – I knew so little about it! Our tasting began with the Mayan Magic hot chocolate – a fitting way to start since the Mayans were the first to consume chocolate. This hot chocolate has ancho chili and had a slight spice to it. As we learned about how Europeans came to discover chocolate from the Mayans and brought it back to Europe, we had a La Parisienne a sweeter, more traditional hot chocolate. We ended with Mocha X’Tasy, a more modern concoction, with caramel, sea salt, and coffee (this was my favorite).
Next we tasted three different bean to bar chocolates made with beans from Indonesia, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Venezuela. Each had a distinct flavor. I especially enjoyed the Indonesian chocolate which had a slightly smokey flavor.
Our chocolate filled experience ended with a tour of the Wall of Bars! This section of the shop displays over 175 different chocolate bars produced by over 35 artisans from all over the world. Kim pointed out some of her favorite bars, and the selection was incredible. There was Bourbon, Red Wine, Creme Brûlée, Ginger Snap, Masala Chai, and Hot Paprika flavored chocolate bars – just to name a few.
I bought a selection of chocolate bars so that I can lead my friends through a chocolate tasting – so expect a follow up post soon. I love to support small locally owned businesses, and Cocoa + Co. has a fantastic selection of chocolate, and their Easter products have begun to arrive. It’s the perfect shop to explore on a snowy day.
Cocoa + Co.‘s address is 1651 North Wells Street, it’s just a short talk from the Sedgwick Brown Line stop in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. And you can buy the Gilt City deal for a Private Chocolate Tasting for Up to Eight People for $110 right here.