Hot Chocolate! Local shops have sweet Valentine treats

Chocolates at Cacao.

By Isadora Pennington

Love and chocolate, it’s a match made in heaven. The sweet, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of modern day chocolates makes it a popular gift for sweethearts, especially around Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of ways to enjoy chocolate, whether presented in a heart-shaped box, mixed into hot drinks, baked into a cake, or individually wrapped and on the shelves of your local convenience store.

Though the history of chocolate is not without its blemishes, its popularity has only grown since its humble origins. The earliest records of cocoa-based beverages trace all the way back to the Mayans, who made bitter, frothy beverages using ground cacao seeds mixed with spices and wines. This drink has evolved into the drink we know as “Chilate” and is thought to be an aphrodisiac. Mayans also believed that cacao seeds were a gift from the gods, and would bestow wisdom and strength upon those who drank it. The seeds were so valuable that they even were used as currency.

These days, chocolate is virtually everywhere. It’s accessible and affordable, which has made it a staple for many special occasions such as holidays. For those among us who share a deep affinity for all things chocolate, one of the best places to visit is a chocolatier. This month, I visited a few of my favorite local makers, who have great sweet gift ideas and are also perfect for a day date.

 


Cacao Cafe
(From left) Antica Strawberry, Sea Salt Tequila, Cayenne Passion Fruit, and Bourbon Espresso and are part of the Epiphany Collection, $18 for six pieces, $36 for 12 pieces.
1046 North Highland Ave. NE
cacaoatlanta.com or (404) 892-8202

 


Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate
Kissed Mermaids Bar – dark coconut milk chocolate with vanilla-infused sea salt and crunchy cacao nibs, $9.50.
99 Krog Street NE
xocolatlchocolate.com or (404) 604-9642

 


diAmano Chocolate
Mango Passionfruit Chocolate Dipped Strawberry, $4 each, $18 for six, $36 for 12, also available in dark, milk, and white chocolate.
1100 Hammond Drive NE, Sandy Springs
diamanochocolate.com or (770) 730-9770

 


Jardi Chocolates
Forever Love – chocolate, cherry, with a cordial centerand Bleeding Love –chocolate, blood orange, and caramel. $11 for four, $20 for eight, or $28 for 12.
3400 West Hospital Ave. #102, Chamblee
jardichocolates.com or (470) 240-8353

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