Maplewood is my “hood” in the St. Louis area. Today was Maplewood’s “Taste of Maplewood” street festival, so of course I had to bike downtown to check out what the local businesses were doing in my stomping grounds. I had a delicious spinach empanada from one of my favorite little Pan-Latin places – as well as a tall glass of their red sangria. I had the jalapeno hush puppies with an orange or lemon zesty sauce.
I also took the time to stop into somewhere that’s caught my eye 100 times driving by but I’ve never quite made it into – Kakao Chocolate. This place just recently popped up in downtown Maplewood, but I knew right away it was going to be my kinda place. I admit, I was secretly hoping to get some cake inspiration when I walked in.
The lovely ladies behind the counter were working away at making more delightful chocolate confections, but were quick to help and happy to offer suggestions. I asked for “the most bizarre flavors” because I like to make sure I’m getting a place’s speciality and most unique offering. The tough thing was, though, that there were so many unique flavors to choose from! Jasmine, Stout Beer, Rose and probably 30 others it seemed like. With the help of the lovely lady behind the counter we narrowed it down to the following (I may butcher the real names – so if you’re out there reading, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to correct me!)
– Spicy Mango Chocolate Truffle – You really get the heat from what I believe to be cayenne right off the bat from this. To me, there is no better combination than rich, dark chocolate and spicy cayenne. It took me two bites to really get a hint of the mango, which I believe was in the creamy center filling. It was very subtle hint of the mango fruit flavor – delicious, but not as bold as I would’ve liked. Overall, I really enjoyed the chocolate but would have liked the mango to play a more predominant role to distinguish it better from a standard Mexican chocolate truffle.
– Bourbon Chocolate Truffle – I love, love, loved this truffle. The chocolate bourbon truffle really captured the essence of this American whiskey. I thought it was simple, elegant and beautifully executed. It’s the perfect balance of rich chocolate and the flavor of the alcohol. The whiskey flavor strong but not overwhelming, and it really heightened the taste of the chocolate in my opinion. Well done.
– Turkish Coffee Truffle – If you give this truffle a whiff, you get an instant hit of the coffee scent. You definitely get the chocolate+coffee combination right away, but the cardamom in it takes a little more attention to detail. The cardamom is integrated seamlessly into this truffle. Much like the mango from the aforementioned spicy mango chocolate truffle, I wish the cardamom would come out just a tad bit more. I still love the chocolate and coffee combo and think this truffle is top notch, and I would love to taste it with just a tiny hint more of the cardamom. Just an itty bitty touch more would take this truffle to the next level.
– Thai Chocolate Truffle – Chocolate made with coconut and topped with crushed dried basil. Omigod. Easily my favorite of the bunch, as this was a flavor combination completely unexpected and unique to me. I never in a million years would have thought to pair basil with chocolate. I owe the lovely lady behind the counter a great debt of gratitude for recommending this particular truffle to me. Sweet, creamy, earthy, even a little delicate citrusy tartness as it melts on your tongue – this Thai chocolate truffle is a real win in my opinion.
What a fantastic Saturday afternoon experience! I’ve definitely got my chocolate fix for the week, but I will be back in Kakao Chocolate of Maplewood, MO in no time to try out more of their interesting and unique flavor combinations that I didn’t get to this time.
So if you are ever passing through St. Louis, or specifically my stomping ground in Maplewood, please take the time to stop at Brian Pelletier’s new place, Kakao Chocolate and give your taste buds a run for their money.
7272 Manchester Rd.
Maplewood, MO 63143