I hold all things chocolate near and dear to my heart. From vegan chocolate bars to classic Nutella, I consider myself a cocoa connoisseur. That being said, my knowledge is limited to mainstream chocolate and lacks in the luxury chocolate department. Thankfully, however, that's changed due to the opening of L.A. Burdick in Chicago. Fellow Spoon writer Hannah Brown and I were blessed enough to visit the chocolate shop, and here's what we thought. 

About L.A. Burdick

Back in the late 1970's, founders Larry and Paula Burdick opened L.A. Burdick in New York. For the past 30 years, these pioneers in the chocolate industry have strived to preserved the elegance and simplicity of chocolate in the form of art. Aided by chefs across the country, including Chicago's Head Chocolatier Micheal Klug, L.A. Burdick produces hand-crafted treats with chocolate imported from around the world, paying special attention to the origin to determine its flavor profile and quality. 

Drinking Chocolate

Hannah Brown

"Chocolate is not candy. It is a food, and it needs to be cooked," Chef Klug explained as we sipped our drinking chocolate. Honestly, I didn't quite understand what he meant by this, but as Hannah and I tried the various hot chocolate flavors (from left to right: dark, milk, and white), I realized what Chef Klug meant. 

Each drinking chocolate consisted of a unique combination of spices to bring out different notes. The Caribbean spice in the dark drinking chocolate made the drink warmer, whereas the nutmeg in the white drinking chocolate added additional richness and complexity. 

Signature Chocolate Mice

Hannah Brown

These cleverly-crafted mice are one of the shop's most popular menu items. With 12 steps in the making, every mouse takes an average of three days to complete. The hand-dipped outer shell that covers the filling and almond ears comes in three flavors: dark, milk and white. The milk chocolate flavor is one of the most popular with its espresso-infused dark chocolate ganache center, adding bitterness and depth to complement the sweet milk chocolate. The white and dark flavors feature different fillings, orange dark chocolate and cinnamon port wine, respectively. 

Seasonal Treats: Ghosts

Hannah Brown

For seasonal fun, the chocolatiers created an ode to Halloween with Chocolate Ghosts. The dark chocolate center is infused with pumpkin spice. However, the usually sickeningly sweet pumpkin notes were replaced by a subtle and warm flavor that is pumpkin spice cider, accented by nutmeg and rich dark chocolate. Encased in a hand-piped white chocolate shell and decorated with two dots of dark chocolate for eyes, these treats feature mouthwatering flavors.

Seasonal Treats: Elephants

Hannah Brown

L.A. Burdick is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of chocolate and to conserving the environment. The entirety of proceeds from these ganaches went to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to fight against poaching in Kenya. So, with every purchase, you contributed to a good cause. Plus, these delicacies drew inspiration from Africa's vibrant flavors, like passionfruit and Amarula liqueur, making for the most complex bite of chocolate.

Flavored Bon Bons

Hannah Brown

Assorted chocolates require just as much attention to detail as those exquisite ganaches. Selecting the flavor combinations, Chef Klug explained, was quite a methodological process. The chocolatiers had to consider what's in season and which ingredients pair well with others, testing its acidity and notes. Unexpected flavors like pistachio and fig, honey and banana, and hazelnut and saffron cannot be found elsewhere, but that's precisely the point of L.A. Burdick. You don't come just for the chocolate or the ambiance. You come for the experience of having high-quality chocolate.

Chicago is known for its classics, and althought L.A. Burdick is new to the Windy City food scene, this shop needs to be on your bucket list. It's an elegant, yet comfortable, environment to unwind and enjoy the care that L.A. Burdick has put into its mastery of chocolate. Come to show your love to your Valentine, make an amazing memory with your family or enjoy amazing chocolate. L.A. Burdick is the place for all your chocolate needs.