Restaurants & Bars

Oakland - Michael Mischer chocolates – Bay’s best shortbread

rworange | Nov 26, 200511:21 PM     7

The best shortbread ever was imported from somewhere in Europe and I bought it in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was so long ago ... maybe before the Beatles broke up. I remember every bite after all these years. It was that good. Nothing matched it.

For me, the shortbread at Michael Mischer is 95% as good as that perfect shortbread. After all, nothing can match a memory.

The shortbread, little larger than a quarter, has that perfect sandy (but not grainy) texture. The soul of butter is in there, like the taste of top class melted butter on pop corn. It might be a tad sweeter than I like, but it doesn’t really matter. Holding the cookie, my fingers had a slight butter sheen.

Then there is a chocolate version, which is even better. The chocolate shortbread cookie is half coated in the thinnest chocolate. These are excellent cookies … they are like buttah.

A free cookie comes with the espresso drinks.

When the shop opened about a year ago, it didn’t get raves from Chowhounds. However, everyone liked the pear William which is a lovely chocolate, pear shaped, thin shelled with a lovely taste true to the liquor.

The chocolates are filled with buttery, rich chocolate cream fillings that are flavored. The only complaint I have is that the shell is too thick for my taste. If the other flavors had the delicate shell of the pear William I might be wildly enthusiastic.

The espresso, shaped like a bean, had a deep rich coffee flavor. Cherry was lovely, a sour cherry in a chocolate cream filling. The dark truffle focused on that buttery cream filling.

Caramel with a liquid center was fine. However, Chuao remains my favorite in that category. Raspberry was one of the least assertive flavors. Tequila aneja ganache didn’t have any detectable tequila taste.

Other flavors include:

Crème de coconut
Gianduja with a whole roasted hazelnut.
Green tea
Key lime
Kir royal
Marzipan with St. George spirits kirsch.
Orange zest

In this category, Chuao remains my favorite. However, I liked them a lot more than Recchiuti and Scharffen Berger.

My favorites though are the chocolate bars which are also sold in small wrapped pieces. I sampled the chocolates with 36, 65, and 72 percent cocoa. The 36 was really lovely and smooth. The 65 percent piece was my least favorite; the flavor didn’t dominate like the other two. It was sort of bittersweet, but not enough. I loved the 72 percent, a very grown up chocolate with deep bitter espresso notes.

They have their own coffee roast – Wild Woman Coffee. There is espresso, cappuccino and latte. Afogata, espresso with pistachio gelato, is available.

MM also has hot chocolate called Xocolati named after the Aztec god of delight who legend says introduced humans to chocolate.

The legend of Xocolati


It was a very nice cup of hot chocolate, a little bittersweet and not overly sugary. It was almost like a ménage a trios between American, Mexican and European hot chocolate. There was that deep taste that reminded me of the thick European chocolates, but the consistency was like American hot chocolate.

There were other chocolate bars, some with nuts. This time of year they were selling Christmas stolen. I might consider this after that great shortbread. The shop makes other seasonal specialties and might be fun to check out at holiday time.

These are small chocolates and cookies. I don’t think it is possible to gain weight eating something this small. Only the Olson twins might consider the cookie binging. There was mention of a weight watcher place next door. Didn’t see it, but really, no harm done to the dieters if they stop by. Prices - $$$ (12 chocolate box - $19).

There are a few marble tables inside and a few sidewalk tables.

Part of the problem I had with the shop is that it is too precious for words. It is like walking into a museum with each chocolate type displayed on the center of a marble dish … one chocolate per big old plate … that’s it … one and only one, As chocolates are selected they are removed from cases beneath the counter. The service is colder than the Naia gelato that is sold in the shop. A large number of the customers who visited the shop while I was there were preppy bordering on caricature. It makes Ferry Plaza look like Food4Less. It was a hard place to warm up to.

The link below has one of the few reviews of these chocolates that I could find. Here is the web site which is in the process of being designed and just has the splash page with address, phone and hours.


Michael Mischer Chocolates
3352 Grand Avenue (a block from the Grand Lake Theatre near Dominos Pizza)
Oakland, Ca
510 986-1822


Noon – 9 pm everyday

Link: http://www.chocolatecritic.com/index....

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