Monday, March 8, 2010

cocoa bella

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing you've had the "best of" something. However the best most of us can do is live vicariously through what we see on TV, in the movies or Oprah Winfrey. The champagnes, fancy cars and diamonds are a just a fantasy, especially in this economy!

But there is a "best of" that is affordable, to anyone who can spare a few dollars, for one, a few or a whole box of the world's best chocolates at CocoaBella Chocolates.

Like any great institution, CocoaBella Chocolates makes it easy for both the novice and expert chocoholic as they have already done the hard work for you. That is, if you consider scouring the earth for the world's finest chocolatiers and then presenting them to you so you can select from their chocolates at your leisure to be hard work.

CocoaBella Chocolates hail from Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Spain and include fine American Chocolatiers as well.

When you walk into the store you are greeted with a mesmerizing array of little chocolate armies, all organized neatly in rows by chocolatier. There are interesting descriptions of each chocolatier, followed by individual chocolate descriptions, all of which you feel compelled to read while trying not to fog the glass case or drool unbecomingly. Sadly, after browsing the selection you find yourself in the position of having to choose just a few chocolates when what you really want to do is be a complete glutton and eat everything in sight.

When you are making your selections, the vendeuse (I had to say that) places the chocolates on a little silver tray which, to me makes it extra special. There is no minimum but I didn't think to ask about the maximum. Honestly, it would be my dream one day to say "just pack up the whole store for me."

On this excursion we decided to try chocolates we hadn't tried before. Our selections included: Apple Brandy, a chocolate with apple caramel, Apple and Brandy; sesame nougat, dark chocolate and caramelized Sesame Seeds; Maple Caramel, maple syrup infused caramel enrobed in dark chocolate; Peanut Butter and Jelly, strawberry jam with peanut butter in milk chocolate; and a spicy Root Beer infused ganache. All were wonderfully delightful. But, the chocolate that delivered the most extraordinary chocolate experience, we had ever had, was the Hazelnuts with Pop Rocks, a hazelnut praline with popping candy. This captivating chocolate kept zipping and popping in our mouths, making us giggle as the last traces of chocolate slipped away on our tongues.


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