You may watch Portlandia and think ‘Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sure have an affinity for that “Cacao!” Safe word’. I was intrigued. Chocolate or ‘Cacao’ as a safe word – it makes sense. I’ve had many a rendezvous with chocolate where I’ve eaten way too much in one sitting. A safe word would have served me well.
In my hunt for cool and interesting chocolate businesses in Portland – I came upon a delectable little shop simply called Cacao near my hotel. Perfect – I was on vacation, I needed a fix.
Cacao features a handpicked selection of chocolate from around the world, including the best premium solid chocolate bars from small producers, select chocolate from the best local chocolatiers and North American makers, and their very own house-made drinking and hot chocolates.
When you walk into the shop you will be greeted by a warm and sweet dwelling. The aroma of chocolate and a simple set up will easily start a swoon and a wonder of what you can put into your belly to satiate the rumblings a brewing.
Cacao has book cases causally laden with the best in haute couture chocolates, boutique blends, demure packaging, plates of easy to pop into your purse chocolate fare and blocks of chocolate that would make an excellent date in bed with a book on a Saturday afternoon. The luxury abounds.
Cacao is a specialty chocolate shop with a focus on North American craft chocolate makers and North West chocolatiers. Founded in 2006 by Jesse Manis and Aubrey Lindley, Cacao is a collection of the best chocolate in the world. Each item is carefully selected based on a range of different criteria—value is placed on areas of focus like small manufacturers, chocolate made in countries where cacao is grown, organic and fair market practices, transparency of operations, value pricing, and limited chains of manufacturing and distribution. Ultimately these gentlemen care most about flavor and quality and are always seeking out new and exciting flavors in cacao beans and chocolate. They have stated that they never want to forget that chocolate is meant for the pleasure of eating.
I’m a fan of a chocolate hot drink. Now that we are heading into winter, what else can be the ultimate in self soothing from the bristle of the cold?
I encourage you to indulge in Cacao’s chocolate bar where you can sample their lovely specialty chocolate drinks.
On offer are:
1) Cinnamon Infused: A Venezuelan Dark Chocolate meets cinnamon. It is a lighter fare, great for kids and if you are feeling like you need a tiny rush.
2) Rivoli: A Classic Dark Chocolate, 72% Arabic from Ecuador. It is grand, bold, epic and a luscious knock you to your knees mate.
3) Spicy: Think ground paprika, cayenne pepper, ginger and coconut milk. The Spicy drink is for when you need a spicy kick to wake you up, get ready to run a marathon or at best get hustling. I could easily sip this drink with my dinner.
Manis and Lindley are painting a portrait for you to step into. To indulge in some unique and delicious flavours of chocolate but to have a slower rendezvous with them. Their small but beautifully lighted shop encourages a place to dwell, sip your Cacao Drinking Chocolate and reflect, be soothed, let an experience wash over you and still have some extra cash in hand to grab another drink and snack before heading out for the day or home to bed.
The Cacao drinking chocolates are affordable and can also be bought in a beautiful glass jar to take home with you simply labelled ‘Premium Drinking Chocolate’….’dark and rich’. No sell necessary. The product stands on its own.
The best love affair you can have at Cacao is sampling the marriage between local chocolate wizard Sebastian Cisneros ‘Craque’ from his sweet brand Cocanú and Portland’s famous ice cream shop, ‘Salt & Straw’. The marriage of the Arbequina Olive Oil ice cream, Craque and Cacao’s Caffé Vita espresso will make you want to worship at the altar of Cacao.
The olive oil and Craque pairs perfectly with Cacao’s drinking chocolates or Caffé Vita espresso to make a decadent pour-over. Adding Craque for added textures truly is an addictive treat in the form of candied cacao nibs. The satisfying crunch and perfect level of sweetness make for ideal snack or as a topping for ice cream, salads and roasted vegetables.
The warm, rich chocolate combining with the cool, fruity, lightly salted olive oil is transcendent. It will transform you.
If you want to swoon and appreciate some of the best chocolate, chocolate drinks and desserts – please visit Cacao in Portland. They are a game changer on the scene. Their wares will satiate your chocolate appetite upon every visit. They are also happy to pack up their sophisticated sweets for en route and home love affairs. Just give them the safe word.
WEST END STORE
414 SW 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
AT THE HEATHMAN
712 SW Salmon Street
Portland, OR 97205