Update: This location has closed and the owners have moved to Michigan.
I drove to Beijo de Chocolat on a cold and rainy evening, after a busy day at work and very little sleep the previous few nights. I was upset with the weather which had long been testing my patience, and secretly wanted to be home, under a warm cosy blanket and cuddling a hot cup of cocoa. The allure of unique and well crafted chocolate flavors was hard to resist though, so I decided to honor Beijo de Chocolat’s invitation to “a night of chocolate and crêpes.” I wanted to experience their renowned chocolate craftsmanship first-hand – and I’m glad I made this decision.
As one of the top chocolatiers in America, Beijo de Chocolat has won 22 medals in 3 categories at the 2013 International Chocolate Salon, including gold medals in the bridal, chocolate bar and white chocolate categories. Furthermore, I had checked out their customers’ online reviews, which were positive and enthusiastic about the place. With such a reputation, I couldn’t have been more excited to try out their sweet creations. Upon entering the store I was greeted warmly by the owners Laura and Krunch, who were ready to guide me through the various artisan chocolate options available to sample. As you can see, there were many to choose from:
I had wondered about the name of this artisan chocolate shop and what it meant, and Laura was quick to enlighten me: “beijo” means “kiss” in Portuguese, so the name of the store can be translated into English as “The Kiss of Chocolate.” It sounds like a great name for this kind of sweet chocolatey business endeavor – plus, the name also pays homage to the movie Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, which is one of Laura’s favorite movies ever.
Beijo de Chocolat is renowned for its Brazilian Brigadeiros, which are similar to chocolate truffles. With a smooth and creamy center encased in Belgian milk or dark chocolate, these are definitely hard to resist. I tried one of each, and was pleased with the smooth texture and the deep chocolate flavor.
I sampled four more chocolate varieties: white chocolate lemon soufflé, strawberry rose, tropicana and gingerlicious.
The white chocolate lemon soufflé was infused with real lemon juice, and as such it had a pungent yet sweet lemon flavor I thoroughly enjoyed. With a smooth center encased in dark Belgian chocolate and an exterior dipped in edible rose petals, the strawberry rose looked very pretty indeed, and its flavor was natural and not overpowering. I’m not a big fan of ginger, so gingerlicious – made of dark chocolate generously infused with fresh grated ginger – was not in my top three. My favorite, in fact, was tropicana: an ingenious concoction of apricot, peach and mango in white chocolate with hand-painted yellow and orange swirls, it tasted as good as it looked, and the various fruit flavors complemented each other beautifully to create a unique and refreshing taste.
I had been invited to “a night of chocolate and crêpes” – so how Beijo fare in the crêpe department? I tried the “Le Monkey” crêpe, which was filled with sliced banana, coconut, whipped cream and chocolate, and thought it was delicious. The crêpe was thin and light and the chocolate sauce made up a nice background element, leaving the stage to the fresh banana and the playful coconut flakes. By then it was getting late and I was full, so I asked Laura to take the crêpe home, where my husband ate some of it and liked it because it was light. My husband is not a fan of chocolate (how can that be??), so this light crêpe, filled with fruit and whipped cream, was perfect for him as well as for me.
I left Beijo de Chocolat glad to have met Laura and Krunch, two business owners committed to the art of creating flavorsome and beautiful sweets that make people happy. I was pleased to hear their stories, to taste their delicious chocolate, and to discover their unparalleled enthusiasm and belief in their products. Scattered in the heart or on the outskirts of our magical city, sometimes hidden from view yet never ignored by passionate foodies, there are many gems like Beijo left to explore. I hope to explore as many as possible during my exciting and fulfilling culinary journey, and I am in it for the long haul. There’s so much to do – and so much to discover…
*Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated by Beijo de Chocolat for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.