Tag Archives: chocolate

Cacao: Drink Chocolate

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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.

Cacao Locations


414 SW 13th Avenue

Portland, OR 97205


712 SW Salmon Street

Portland, OR 97205



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One of the best parts of my trip to Boston last November was the Boston Chocolate Tour I took of the South End of Boston.  It was such a blast and I got to meet some cool people too.  I love taking off the beaten track tours when I travel.  It gives me a real flavour of the neighbourhoods and a grass roots take from its locals.

The November Fall weather made for a lovely jaunt around town and the eating of crazy amounts of chocolate from some pretty swish boutique cafes and shops whilst I was on holiday.  On the tour be ready to pick up plenty of samples on the way, plus tips on tasting, buying and storing fine chocolate.  Each participant also receives a VIP Card, good for discounts and VIP treatment at local gourmet businesses.

I was glad that the leader gave us a Ziploc bag that came along with my goodie bag at the start of our journey.  I came with a full belly but man I can eat only so much chocolate.  I’m glad I saved the lion’s share of the samples.  They came to good use when I was able to eat them for dinner on my flight back to Toronto.  😉  Holla!


 The exclusive 2 ½-hour walking tour highlights the historic South End neighborhood. This area is home to elegant Victorian brick row houses, many dating from the 1800s, and one of the most diverse populations in Boston.

Some of the destinations we visited were:

 •Feature stop: ChocoLee  – this award winning chocolate shop is owned by Lee Napoli one of Yankee Magazine’s Top 5 Chocolate Makers

 •Enjoy chocolate heaven in the form of a homemade Oreo at a bakery owned by Celebrity Chef Joanne Chang

 •Yelp reviews call this hidden spot’s “chocolate chip cookies” to die for

 •A neighborhood landmark restaurant with a celebrity chef shares their special chocolate martini during their pajama brunch

 •The best homemade chocolate ice cream in Boston can be found at this Pizza restaurant

 •Enjoy cupcakes named The Madison, The Harriet and The Simon voted “The Best of Boston” by the Improper Bostonian

 •Rosie’s Bakery is not in the South End but their famous chocolate orgasm is and we know where to find and sample it.

The Boston Chocolate Tour of the South End meets on Saturday afternoon’s at 2:00PM at Code 10, 1638 Washington Street in Boston’s South End. The walk itself is moderate and it ends near the Boston Center for the Arts.

My favourite spot on the chocolate walking tour was a stop at the world renowned Flour Bakery.  The homemade Oreo Cookie were to die for and the gluten free brownies were enough to put me into diabetic shock.  I’m glad I indulged on the trip early on because tons of walking was needed to work that decadence off.  😉

I even found the book ‘Flour’ by Joanne Chang that housed the recipes for these two gorgeous creations.  It retails for $35.00 USD from Chronicle Books.  Check it out here:

‘Flour’ by Joanne Chang $35.00 USD from Chronicle Books

‘Flour’ by Joanne Chang $35.00 USD from Chronicle Books

Advance tickets required for any of the Boston Chocolate Tours – tour size is limited to 14.  Check them out here:  http://www.bostonchocolatetours.com/tours/

Thank you to Victoria and Veronique for such a fun and highly educated chocolate walking tour!


Mel xo