If you swoon over pure, cacao-rich, delectable dark chocolate, ChocoVivo in Culver City could be your little piece of paradise.
I’m a “belly up to the bar” person. I much prefer a front-row glimpse of the mixology behind my handcrafted cocktail. I like discussing options with the bartender before a velvety Cabernet Sauvignon is poured into my glass. And then there are all the fascinating people you meet to your left and right, the random conversations, and sometimes a silly or shocking pick-up line out of nowhere. You never know who or what you might encounter, especially when there are adult libations involved. It’s all part of the bar scene, I suppose.
Last week I had a bar encounter of a very different kind—and it didn’t involve a single drop of alcohol. How does a bar exist without liquor, you ask? When it’s a chocolate bar.
Say hello to ChocoVivo, a quaint little chocolate bar and boutique in Culver City where you can satisfy all of your cacao cravings. It’s a happy place. Everybody is smiling. I mean, how can you not when you’re surrounded by all things chocolate?
There’s a dark chocolate tasting bar, for starters—and a menu that will have chocoholics rejoicing. Choose from hot and cold chocolate drinks and mochas, cookies and milk (how cute!), chocolate croissants, chocolate ice cream and uh, tamales. The shelves are stocked with jars of chocolate butters, chocolate powders, cacao nibs and bars of pure chocolate.
ChocoVivo handcrafts single-origin, 100 percent whole bean-to-bar dark chocolate. That means no fillers, colors, flavorings, soy lecithin, milk powder or additional cacao butter. And it’s stone ground with the same traditional grinding methods used by the Mayans and Aztecs more than 2,000 years ago. I like a little history with my chocolate.
I bellied up to the dark chocolate tasting bar, where you can try a flight of up to 13 blends of chocolate—pure bars, blended bars and limited edition blends. Just as a wine flight transitions from light to heavy, a proper chocolate tasting goes from purest flavor (most bitter) to strongest/sweetest flavor. My trajectory went like this: Mexican Vanilla Bean and Black Salt (80 percent cacao) to Almonds and Sea Salt (buttery texture, bittersweet/salty taste) to Mayan Tradition (spicy, cinnamon). Swoon.
I couldn’t visit a bar without ordering a beverage, so I tried an iced hot chocolate with organic milk and 75 percent cacao chocolate. Hello, hottie. It was rich, satisfying and simultaneously bitter and slightly sweet (hmm, sounds like my last relationship). What a delicious way to get antioxidants. Really. Dark chocolate is loaded with them! The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the health benefits. Next time, I will go all the way with 100 percent cacao chocolate.
Copyright © Michelle Gigon/2015 Singular Communications, LLC.
A great thing about this bar, besides no hangover? Carryout! Buy some ChocoVivo pure chocolate bars and make this treat at home:
Chocolate + Bread + Cheese
- Place a chocolate “rustic bar” on a piece of artisan bread.
- Lightly toast the bread and chocolate for 30 seconds. The chocolate will soften like butter. Spread the chocolate with a knife to coat the rest of the bread.
- Top with Fleur de Sel, a drizzle of olive oil, crumbled blue cheese and fresh fig.
- Pair with a glass of wine and enjoy.
12469 W Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m. – 11: p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.