Diamonds? Nah. We all know the song made popular by Marilyn Monroe telling us that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I think we all know the truth: Chocolate is a girl’s real best friend. It’s good for break ups when all your friends are out happily eating dinner with their significant others, it’s the perfect aphrodisiac when you are wanting to get busy, it’s also there for you when Mother Flow comes out to play. Chocolate is versatile and is usually included in every girl’s valentines day gift. Whether you bought it for yourself or not, you’re probably eating chocolate on the day of “corporate love” as I heard someone on a podcast say.
And sure, we’ve all had the chocolate routlette boxes from the store, but is that really what you want? Roulette chocolate? I don’t think so. You want delicious, fresh, interesting, unique chocolate. And lucky for you there are plenty of chocolatiers in the KC area that have created some of the most delectable, whimsical chocolates that won’t leave you shell shocked because you got the “coconut one”.
1. Bizz &Weezy
Perhaps the more whimsical of the chocolate shops I’m featuring, Bizz and Weezy is owned by Jon and Amy Pitcher right in the thick of the Crossroads district. The treats themselves are a little bit more traditional, offering chocolate bark, fudge and even chocolate covered Oreos. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. We are talking about the chocolates. There are so many creative flavors, including root beer float, midnight chai and St. Germain & Rose.
Root Beer Float: whimsical, spiced caramel that leaves a warm tingly mouth feel.
Midnight Chai: Lightly spiced, creamy. Like sitting in a coffee shop with a warm Chai. Exactly like that.
St. Germain & Rose: floral, sophisticated; if Marie Antionette were a chocolate, this would be her (does that make sense? Is that weird? Probably.)
Passionfruit: A chocolate covered caramel bursting with tropical flavor, it’s almost like eating fresh, chocolate-covered passionfruit.
Boulevard Wheat: Boulevard wheat infused chocolate makes for a richer, creamier, smoother caramel.
Pear & Goat Cheese: creamy, a little tart, a little sweet and none of the usual goat cheese bite. A true decadent delight.
So this is the only feature in this post without a photo, and that might be because I ate all of them before thinking of taking a picture. And here’s the thing: I LOVE Christopher Elbow’s chocolates. I have the luxury of being able to indulge in their chocolates the most as they offer $1 bon bons every First Friday of the month. The flavors are always rotating, but some of my favorites are the pate de fruit, Lemon, Lavender, Venezuelan spice and Passionfruit bon bons. The chocolate is smooth and creamy and is the perfect blend of dark chocolate bite and milk chocolate sweetness on the pallet.
I always thought that Andre’s only location was in Overland Park. Turns out, there is another location just off the Plaza. Being that it was my first visit, I decided to try a little bit of everything and ultimately settled on the Coffee Liquor, Mint Julep, Cherry Brandy, Cinnamon Chili, Raspberry filled, and Milano chocolates.
Amaro (coffee liquor): Part of the Andre and J. Rieger collaboration, the Amaro “pop a shot” is bitter, rich, herbal and pairs perfectly with the chocolatey coating.
Mint Julep: Reminiscent of the junior mint, with a hint of booze. The inside is creamy and minty without going overboard; refreshing yet decadent.
Cherry Brandy: Like the cordials your grandma used to keep around the house but, fresher and classier. The cherry inside is still light but not so soaked with booze that you get a headache.
Cinnamon Chili: A little spice and herbal, cinnamon warmth packs a punch that’s not too overpowering but enough to get your attention.
Raspberry filled: smooth milk chocolate surrounding a sweet raspberry jelly filling. A true Valentine treat.
Milano: A fresh pecan on a dollop of caramel and covered in chocolate. A staple, ol’ reliable and real freaking good.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with Askinosie chocolate from the insurance commercials. At least that’s how I first found out about them. Askinosie is particularly unique because, while they aren’t based in Kansas City, the Springfield company has been named as one of Forbes’ 25 Best Small Companies in America. That’s pretty impressive for a company located in a city I’ve mostly known as a “college town.” Askinosie’s business model is all about Transparency. In an industry where many Cocoa Farms are being accused of child slave labor, Askinosie prominently displays their “Transparency Report” online where you can find information on where your chocolate is sourced. Askinosie offers several variations of chocolate confections, but their chocolate bars are the easiest to find in the city. And it’s good pure chocolate, which isn’t generally my style but when you don’t have that waxy film to get through and the chocolate melts into velvet sugar nectar in your mouth, you start changing your mind about not liking “solid chocolate bars”.
As Valentine’s Day looms, I hope you’ve gotten plenty of ideas to bombard your significant other with, or you’ve figured out how you’re going to treat yourself. Either way, may your day of “corporate love” be sweet. What are some of your favorite places to get chocolate? Do you have a specific chocolate that is your absolute favorite? Tell me everything.