Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chocolate Shops: Chocolopolis

Several months ago I visited Seattle's Chocolopolis and bought several interesting-sounding items including Venchi's intriguing absinthe bar and Amedei's subtle red fruit bar. I also bought a hazelnut bar from famed Valrhona, and when I finally got around to opening it, it tasted “off.” I thought it might be rancidity; though the expiration date gave me another month and a half, perhaps the hazelnut oil had gone bad. Valrhona ain't cheap, so I hoped I could return the bar. I called Chocolopolis and they told me they would allow me to exchange it, but when I finally brought it back in, I realized I'd forgotten the receipt!

Fortunately, Lauren overheard me mentioning my predicament. She remembered my call and had opened another bar from the same batch for quality control purposes. She compared it to my bar and found that it tasted the same. She suggested that Valrhona might just not be to my taste, but she wanted me to be happy with what I bought from the store, so she offered me a trade anyway. I swapped for a new-to-me bar from Olive and Sinclair, and out of impulse and goodwill also bought two of the chocolate confections behind the counter. (I don't remember the brands, only that one was a caramel-truffle hybrid and the other a ganache-filled and chocolate-coated fig.)

Chocolopolis is somewhat sterile, with no dishes of samples and only a limited selection of some brands, but what's there has been tried and approved by a knowledgeable staff. The shelves are labeled by origin and separated into plain bars versus those with inclusions, and as mentioned there is a counter containing high-quality confections. In Seattle it is one of only a few excellent multi-brand chocolate shops, a destination for those willing to splurge and looking for quality and expertise.

[Update: See Lauren's comment below for more on the confections I tried as well as Chocolopolis's free tasting sessions.]

1 comment:

  1. Glad everything worked out to your satisfaction! I believe the caramel-truffle hybrid you bought was a Thomas Haas confection. The fig is our own item, and my personal favorite. We make an anise-infused ganache, stuff it into a black mission fig and dip it in chocolate. Also, we have free happy hours every Thursday from 5-9 (Seattle) and Sunday 3-6 (Bellevue) with samples focused on different themes each week (last week we sampled chocolates that had either different conching times or no conching at all). It's a great way to sample different single-origin chocolates.