AIWFC: Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, and a Pygmy Marmoset

Today is Day Three of my holiday blogathon, entitled All I Want For Christmas. This is where I scour the town looking for cool food-related presents that secretly, I would really like to get, but that I’m also pretty sure you and yours would love too. If you missed yesterday’s installment, click here. (When you’re sitting pretty in your Doomsday Bunker, enjoying the prestige that comes with being your clan’s head marmalade maker, you’ll thank me.)

Today, you get a threesome, and there is chocolate involved. Oh boy! Before you get too excited, pervo, this threesome is a trio of a few of my favorite local chocolate purveyors–Alma Chocolate, Cacao, and Bees & Beans. And frankly, if those three made up the entirety of your holiday shopping destinations, you’d be fine. More than fine. You’d be a Hero.

hersheysonepoundI am going to pause right here to tell you a relatively pathetic little story. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, I was born into Jehovah’s Witnessdom. Among other things, this meant we didn’t celebrate Christmas. One year, when I grew old enough to understand what a stinky raw deal the whole getting no presents thing was, I saved my allowance, and a few weeks before Christmas, I bought a giant Hershey bar at the drugstore. You know, the one pound version. Back then, that was my version of heaven.

I snuck it home, wrapped it in some free holiday wrapping paper samples I’d found somewhere, tied a ribbon around it, and hid it in the back of my closet. It was an absolutely breathtaking secret, and about 25 times that day, I made sure the perimeter was secure, then crept into my closet, examined my prize and re-hid it. I couldn’t wait to open my secret gift on Christmas, like everyone else. I wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn’t. Even back then I wasn’t overburdened with self control, so I ended up unwrapping and eating my entire Precious that night, then shortly thereafter throwing up. Because a pound of Hershey’s chocolate isn’t an 8-year-old’s digestive system’s best friend.

The point of this story is that in spite of my holiday ignorance, I’d figured out early on that chocolate is the gold standard of Christmas presents, and now that I no longer celebrate the holidays in hiding, there’s nothing finer to be found in a stocking or hidden in the branches of a chocolate-dipped Noble Fir. (Call me an overcompensator, if you will.) Here are a few excellent local specimens.

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almastnickAlma Chocolate
140 Northeast 28th Ave.
503.517.0262
almachocolate.com

Foxy chocolatier Sarah Hart makes the best chocolate cake in town, some serious hot chocolate, and oh those ice creams, but none of those things are particularly easy to wrap and hide under the bed for a couple of weeks, so you should get this: St. Nick immortalized in either milk or dark chocolate. For a mere $5, this edible rendition of the saint they called Nikolaos the Wonderworker will keep watch over your stockings come Christmas Eve. You may wish to booby trap him in case the real deal comes down the chimney and decides that plate of Chips Ahoy is paling in comparison with his tempting choco-idol.

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wildtuscanpinenutsCacao
414 SW 13th Ave. * 503.241.0656
712 SW Salmon St. * 503.274.9510
cacaodrinkchocolate.com

I spend a lot of time in Cacao chocolate shop over the course of the year, but those are selfish shopping trips, where I end up buying way too many bars and truffles and eating them in the car on the way home because…I just can’t help myself. This time of year, in keeping with the reason for the season, I go there to find chocolate to gift to other people, and I put their goodies in the trunk to protect them from any potential on-the-way-home rampages. This year, there are lots of delightful locally-tempered delicacies for good boys and girls to eat at Cacao–exquisite squares of locally made Cocanú chocolate, Sahagún‘s wondrous dark chocolate barks, petite Woodblock chocolate bars and these wee boxes of Xocolatl de David‘s chocolate-covered wild Tuscan pine-nuts ($5). Just a word of wrapping wisdom–this box size is tricky and if you are thinking about cloaking these in Tiffany blue paper, I’d think twice about that, unless you’ve tucked a big fat diamond ring and/or a plane ticket to the home of wild Tuscan pine nuts inside.

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beesnbeansminisBees & Beans
beesandbeans.com
503.869.4105

‘Tis the season to embrace miniature things–elves, small candy canes, tiny lines at the post office (okay that one’s pure wishful thinking), and these new Bees & Beans minis, which come in a lovely little miniature sampler box ($8). There’s a little Honey Bar (honey caramel layered with salted filbert nougat, in a 70% dark chocolate coat with a sea salt finish), a little ‘Bert Bar (milk chocolate, filberts, crispy rice, honey, and peanut butter filling in dark chocolate), and a little Coffee Bar (Sumatra coffee caramel and toasted Oregon walnuts covered in dark chocolate). Obviously these were born to be a much-appreciated stocking stuffer, but they also make for the ideal snack when you need a little pickmeup during a very big Christmas shopping trip to find a set of four very small cashmere socks for your pet pygmy marmoset.

pygmymarmoset

My 20 tiny toes are so cold!