Chocolate to Portland, Ore. is like, well, beer is to Portland. Listing my five favorite chocolatiers in Portland is a little bit like asking me to pick my five favorite crayons. There are so many shops specializing in chocolate in Portlnd, there is really no way to narrow this list down to just five. I’m sure the next time I visit Portland, I will find five more I love. In any case, consider these five shops places that are definitely worth a visit.
Before venturing into the world of Portland chocolates, your clients should know that all chocolatiers worth their cocoa in Portland sell both salted chocolate caramels and they all sell amazing varieties of seasonal hot chocolate. Rather than enthusing about these flavors one by one, know that all of the shops listed sell amazing varieties of both.
Cacao // (c) Travel Portland
Although I found that all the purveyors of chocolate I met in Portland were amazingly friendly, Aubrey Lindley and Jesse Manis, owners of Cacao went out of their way to navigate the chocolate seas. Although I consider myself an expert, heck, I know what dark chocolate is, Aubrey proceeded to show me, bite by bite, just exactly how much I don’t know about chocolate. Jesse has worked in the Portland chocolate scene for more than ten years and together the two men decided to open their own shop. In addition to handcrafted bon bons from chocolate makers around Portland and the Pacific Northwest, the shop sells a large variety of rare and unique chocolate bars from around the world. Already I’m breaking my rule about not mentioning hot chocolate, but here guests can order from a variety of sipping chocolates, all of which are made from a base of solid chocolates. There is so much to see and sample in this shop, true chocolate enthusiasts should probably plan to be here a while.www.cacaodrinkchocolate.com/
Moonstruck keeps track of how many donkey and elephant truffles are sold during election season
Located in the heart of downtown, Moonstruck serves up a variety of whimsical chocolate creations, changed to reflect the current seasons and conversational moods. During election months, for example, there are plenty of donkeys and elephants for sale, while Moonstruck “pollsters” keep track of sales, to see which party gets the most purchases. Although all chocolate stores are probably kid-friendly in their own way, the variety of cute creatures for sale here, make this a fine location to bring the whole family. www.moonstruckchocolate.com
Just order the Shazam, you know you want to.
In addition to being a chocolatier, Pix is also a downright yummy pastry shop. For people who aren’t chocolate lovers (I’ve heard such breeds exist, but never actually seen one), the pastry shop serves up plenty of other European style desserts. All others should probably start with the Shazam or Queen of Sheba Truffle Cake. Guests can also take home a variety of individual chocolates or a bouquet of chocolate roses for a loved one.www.pixpatisserie.com
Alma Chocolates sell chocolates of iconic figures, covered in edible gold leaf.
For chocolates are worth their weight in gold, the only ones that may suffice are the ones that are actually painted with edible 23-karat gold leaf. The shop got its start when owner Sarah Hart learned that the cacao tree’s Latin botanical name, Theobroma, means “food of the gods” She envisioned edible gods, and the rest is history. Now in addition to Buddhas, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Quan Uin, hamsa hands, Sacred hearts, and Celtic crosses. Hart sells a variety of other bon bons, bars and sauces.www.almachocolate.com
Dia de los Muertos chocolates at Sahagun
After reading a book on the foods of pre-Columbian cultures, owner Elizabeth Montes became intrigued by the descriptions and paintings of the early uses for cacao and chocolate. Montes admired how the ingredients were used in these texts, such as combining chocolate with flowers, chilies and honey. The shop’s unique flavors such as lavender truffles and chile limon soda are big hits with the locals. Pepitapapa is the shop’s self-acclaimed favorite, with toasted pumpkin seeds and ground jalapenos swirled into Ecuadorian bittersweet chocolate bark. www.sahagunchocolates.com