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Restaurants & Bars 5

Albany – Chocolat on Solano – sweet

rworange | May 10, 200603:53 AM

After a heads-up from other hounds, I stopped by this little chocolate shop between Walker Pies and a dentist office.

They have a nice selection and the prices seem good. They sell a lot of small bars and Napolitans, those individually wrapped squares that seem popular lately. You know, the size you find on your pillow in some hotels.

There are two shelves of various baking chocolates. There were huge pieces of El Rey white and dark baking chocolate as well as quite a few other brands. There are bars, bon-bons, hot chocolate mixes, cookies and some novelties.

Chocolate makers that I remember:

Belgium: Café Tasse. Chocolove, Cote D’or Nirvana, Dolfin

France: Cluizel

Germany: Schokinag

Italy: Amedei, Cuba Venchi, Domori

USA: Dagoba, Scharffen Berger. Moonstruck, Jacques Torres, Coco Bon

Venezuela: El Rey

There might be more, but there was a lot of chocolate in the small shop and those were the ones that caught my attention.

The cookies were Tante Agathe Cœurs de l’Oranger

It is a nice place to pick up gift items too. In addition to the above they have a few novelty items like the chocolate candy rocks which look like tiny pebbles, Cuba Venchi cigars in three flavors, chocolate lip balm and a chocolate-scented soy candle. They currently have some Mother’s Day gift boxes.

For many of the brands they carry, most of the items for each chocolatier are available.

I really liked Amedei Cru chocolates which are labeled with the countries of the plantations of origin: Ecuador, Grenada, Jamaica, Madagascar, Trinidad and Venezuela. The Jamaica was very nice with a strong smoky aroma and taste that I didn’t have to work to find, It was the kind of smoke that perfumes the air of Que places like Flints. Looking at the Amedei website, Chocolat seems to carry all of their chocolate.

Many of the Cluizel chocolates are there including some novelty chocolates I haven’t seen before … chocolate mushrooms and cappuccino “60% chocolate coffee cup shells, filled with a pure Brazilian Arabica coffee ganache and hand decorated with a white chocolate gianduja.” Cute.

I have never seen the Domori mais and can’t even find it on the website.

Right now they have a big selection of Moonstruck chocolates for Mother’s Day … the little flower pots, pastel hats and purses. I finally tried Moonstruck which has not received enthusiastic posts on Chowhound. After my first visit to Chocolat, I checked out the Moonstruck website. The chocolate cones were the sixth most popular chocolate so I went with that.

A truffle in an ice cream cone shape was filled with light malted milk whipped cream. It was actually pretty good. Maybe I had such low expectations, it was better than I imagined it would be.

Chocolat is NOT a re-birth of Cocolat. The script they use for the name is similar to the old Cocolat shop and the clerk mentioned that a lot of people stopped by hoping Cocolat had re-opened. Guess there were a lot of fans.

Here’s the website link which isn’t working today, but should be up soon.

1485A Solano Ave
Albany, Ca 94706

510-528-2462 (choc)

Link: http://www.madforchocolate.com/

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