Chuao chocolate is so good that when I go to SF next week I'm bringing this chocolate with me as gifts. Michael Recchiuti ... pooh ... eat your heart out (a highly overrated and overpriced SF Chocolatier).
Thanks to reading through the chowhound posts I found out about this artisan chocolate maker in the Lumberyard plaza in Encinitas. They also have a shop in La Jolla.
Named after the cacao-producing region of Chuao in central Venezuela (pronounced chew-wow), Chuao Chocolatier melds traditional European techniques with Venezuelan chocolate for these wonderful hand made chocolates.
Very pricy, but in this case, IMO, worth it.
Going on Chowhound suggestions, I had the Java. Top grade Venezuelan chocolate with a deep coffee cream interior. mmmmmmm .... I can see me serving this with coffee after dinner.
I really loved the CHEVERE ... silky goat cheese and pear Williams butter cream enhanced with a touch of crushed black pepper corns inside a dark Venezuelan chocolate bonbon.
I was curious. But it was like a tangy cheesecake filling covered with chocolate. This just had all sorts of different notes.
The GRIGNOTTINES looked better than they tasted, but there was no real problem, just not as good as the other two didn't match the description: Roasted and caramelized almond slivers, mixed with finely chopped pistachios and orange peel, blended together with dark Venezuelan chocolate.
The hot chocolate was one of the best I've ever had. It was thick and so rich you had to take tiny sips. It uses their standard Venezulian bitter chocolate and adds spices for a kick.
Next time I'll just get the plain hot Chocolate because that was the star.
I'm back there tommorrow for gifts to take to SF. Will report about some of the other flavors.
Very pretty packaging available as well. You can also buy chocolate books and they have special events. Link to web site is below.
They sell beautiful wooden molinillo which are used to whip the hot chocolate.
They had wines you could buy (I think ... maybe display only). Anyway, they have suggetions about pairing wine with chocolate.
For white wines and champagne, they suggest milk chocolate enhanced by fruit or nuts. They pair fruity Chardonay or Fume Blanc with their Almond truffle, Noccello or Parchita. Avod oaky Chard however.
For red wines like madera, port or banyuls (a French sweet red wine) choose the cacique, picante, or modena.
Also they say a fruity merlot or a fruity zinfadel are good choices. The fruit of the wine and the fruity notes in the chocolate complement one another.
Here's the web site for more info Good name ... chew and then say WOW !!!