The Temptations range from Cacao Sampaka
Hi, my name is Tara and I am a recently confirmed chocaholic. Up until last week I could have bars of the stuff laying around the flat for weeks, satisfied with the just the odd nibble here and there, unlike a good friend of mine who regularly eats huge bars of dark cooking chocolate for breakfast.
But that was before I found myself at a chocolate tasting at Cacao Sampaka, the esteemed gourmet chocolate shop that shot to fame in the early Noughties for its wacky innovations like anchovy, black olive and balsamic chocolates. Roll on a decade and there’s still a soupçon of crazy going on, but the actual choc is more serious than ever: a bit like being at a high end wine-tasting but all single cocoa estates, hand-picking and artisan methods that heap endless love into the stuff to make chocolate that is nothing short of sensational.
Their range is split into specialist, single-estate chocolate bars, chocolate for drinking, bonbons and novelties, and, as you might expect, it’s a handy place for stocking up on gifts for foodie friends. But what I like are the more unusual chocolates like their La Joya range, made from the rare Criollo cocoa bean, which produces chocolate as widely varied as the wines of Spain. Some of it is deeply fruity with a pleasing streak of juicy acidity, others bitter and earthy as if it came direct from the hands of the Mayan Gods. White chocolate—which I generally abhor by the way—in these guys’ hands is a fantastic vehicle for rose petals and crunchy pieces of freeze-dried strawberries, and don’t get me started on the dark chocolate bars liberally spiked with Sal de Ibiza. Suffice to say the nibbling has gone out the window and I’m gorging my way through the range with gay abandon with the notion I’ll be an expert by Christmas.
Private chocolate tastings can be arranged through Miquel Manzano from around €20 per person.
Consell de Cent 292, tel 93 272 0833, www.cacaosampaka.com