When my friend suggested that a group of us go to a chocolate tasting, my immediate response was, “That’s a thing?” Sounds too good to be true for the average college student, am I right? Well, it is certainly a thing – an amazing thing, actually.
Kakao Chocolate in Maplewood hosts groups of 8 to 30 people for private tasting parties led by owner and chief chocolatier, Brian Pelletier. The parties are held at 7pm, when the shop closes, so you and your friends will have the place to yourselves. Pelletier is extremely knowledgeable, passionate and entertaining, noting where the various chocolates come from and how they are made: each one from all-natural ingredients and crafted by hand, of course. Oh, did I mention it’s B.Y.O.B? (Yes, we brought red wine and yes, it was perfection). The tasting consists of around 8 pieces per person (with the potential for new pieces never tasted before!) and each one is even more delicious than the last. Actually, scratch that; they’re all equally unreal. Let me lay out some of the highlights:
1. Chocolate chip cookie marshmallow pie
Yup, this is real. Pelletier says that oats are the secret to making this marshmallow-chocolate sandwich taste like a chocolate chip cookie.
2. Dark chocolate sea salt caramel
I’m not normally into caramels, but this one stole my heart. It’s considered one of Kakao’s signature confections and for good reason. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate combined with the sweet, gooey caramel and sprinkling of sea salt created the ideal balance of flavors.
3. Peach bellini patê de fruit (essentially a sugar-coated fruit gel square)
This was ironically my favorite piece of the evening, even without a speck of chocolate. It maintained a balance of tart and sweet that perfectly contrasted with the richness of the chocolates. I even bought a box after the tasting because they were so delightful.
Tastings are $12 per person Monday – Thursday and $15 per person Friday – Saturday. To schedule a party, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more chocolate in St. Louis, visit Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, for a fancy dessert-focused restaurant (think: Valentine’s Day) or either Bissinger’s Chocolate or Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, both local chocolate factories offering free chocolate tours (yes, you read correctly, that was “free” and “chocolate” in the same sentence).
Address: 7272 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO 63143
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am – 11pm; Sunday 12pm – 5pm
Want even more chocolate? Check out these decadent chocolatey recipes and tips: