I don’t like chocolate, partly because I am chocolate and that toes the line of cannibalism, but mainly because the options here in the states are gross and ho-hum. When I walked into Cacao & Cardamom, Houston’s premiere luxury chocolatier, my life was forever changed. From the amazingly radiant chocolate confections, to the wafting aroma of chocolate in the air I couldn’t tell if I was still on Westheimer or had moved on up to Cloud 9.
When asked about her chocolate shop Annie shared that “Cacao & Cardamom was born with the desire of reviving the rich culture surrounding cacao and chocolate, using new ideas and techniques to open an infinite world of possibilities and change the way we see chocolate. Chocolate has captivated my world and has inspired me to use my experiences, travels, and culinary insight to create unique handmade confections.
Annie’s chocolates remind us to live in the moment. To be more mindful of our present experiences while traveling to wherever the spices and chocolates may take you! – Me
(L to R) Guava Tamarind, Chipotle, Szechuan Peppercorn and Mango Caramel
I was invited in for a private tasting of Cacao & Cardamom’s finest chocolates just in time to share with you for Valentine’s Day! If you haven’t yet determined what you will be getting your loved ones on this day of “LOVE” this should help make your decision easier. Thank me later.
We tasted 4 chocolates last night that ranges from sweet to savory to chocolate with a kick! They were tasty, innovative and almost to pretty to eat. But rest assured we did. In addition to the chocolates we were also service wines that complimented the chocolates. These wines and others are available for purchase in the store.
We tasted the Guava Tamarind, Chipotle, Szechuan Peppercorn and the Mango Caramel. All good just depends on preference!
Our evening opened with our first chocolate: Mango Caramel, a salivating mix of caramel, mango, passion fruit, and coconut milk enrobed in milk chocolate. It was a great starter because it “eased” us into the other 3 chocolates. I would say that the Mango Caramel was the “safest” of the 4, meaning if you didn’t have time to taste all 19 chocolates you could “safely” purchase this without hesitation.
The Guava Tamarind consisted of a tangy “mash up” of guava & tamarind in a white chocolate ganache. This was my #1 pick. I loooovvvveee white chocolate and when paired with the tamarind was fantastic.
The Chipotle chocolate and the Szechuan Peppercorn were new to my palette, as I have never had “spicy” chocolate, but have always wanted to try it! It took me to a another place.
The Chipotle chocolate is steeped in adobo peppers for nice, spicy, dark chocolate kick! The Szechuan Pepppercorn took me to another universe, with its salty-spicy kick and milk chocolate ganache I was in “hot chocolate heaven.” In addition to their tasty chocolates Cacao & Cardamom also sales cooking chocolate. Various flavors of chocolate cooking sauces are available for the true chocolate lover. I added some recipes from some fellow bloggers on ways to use the sauces.
Annie has stuffed her store full of chocolate bars from all over the world. I am certain you will find something you like.. even LOVE here. I will have to stop back by to do a full taste test of the other chocolate bars to give you the full “lowdown” of what to buy!
OTHER CHOCOLATE STUFF
Chocolate Cabernet Wine Sauce
Chocolate Port Wine Sauce
Bakers Royale also has the best photos and their Chocolate Panna Cotta with a Port Wine Pomegranate Sauce looks outrageous!
Chocolate Amaretto Liqueur Sauce
An international chocolate store is what you will find behind the doors of Cacao & Cardamom. Make sure to try the TEXAS chocolates first! Just kidding.. I am certain they are all special and yummy in their own way. I am a sucker for colors and packaging but the history behind the bars is what makes them special.
The simple fact that In some countries chocolate is a delicacy and only provided to the wealthy, made me appreciate every bite a little more. In places like Pakistan there is little to no chocolate. That would have some of my friends loosing their shit for sure!
As a history lesson in itself, Annie has created a “chocolate map” of sorts to highlight the regions of which she obtains her chocolate. The history, chocolate, quaint atmosphere and impeccable customer service is why I can’t wait to get back to this place.
Make sure to sample Cacao & Cardamom’s “Cacao nibs” as you check-out (*hint hint*.. you will be buying SOMETHING!).
Parting is such SWEET sorrow! Make sure to say Hello to Annie when you visit. She has a small staff who work their butts off for Houston!