In April Connie and I were in Inglewood, walking to check out a tea shop I’d heard about, when we walked past a simple shop with a name that caught my attention right away – Choklat. Of course we had to go in and check it out, but if the clerk hadn’t been attentive (there was only one other customer in the store when we went in) it’s likely we would have walked right out again. Instead of a case full of lovely chocolates to look at and select, there was a small display of brownies/cookies/etc (and I do mean small – perhaps only 5 of each were in the case) and then a kitchen visible behind the counter. No chocolates in sight!
The clerk helpfully described that they would actually make our chocolates for us while we waited. It would only take a few minutes, and we could choose the filling, shell, and what the chocolate (truffle) would be rolled in. There was a menu, and she also told us about the drinking chocolate they sold. (But she didn’t mention their two other products, chocolate lollipops covered in edible glitter and chocolate bars.)
One odd factor – the gentleman behind the counter was attentive when we entered, and then passed us off to the female clerk. She was helpful and did her job well, but he then sat behind the counter on his laptop and ignored everyone. I presume he was the manager or owner, but I found it a bit rude. I got a bit of an impression that he was a bit snobby, and that if I didn’t care about the pedigree of the chocolate, that I wasn’t worth paying attention to. Perhaps, on the other hand, he just had a lot of paperwork to do on a Saturday afternoon!
Another unexpected element to the shop – it REALLY smells like dark chocolate, and I was surprised to find that I didn’t like it.
The sales pitch on this was that several ‘other’ chocolate shops (ahem, not naming names, but I presume they mean Bernard Callebeaut, Purdy’s, and Oliver – which is just down the street) leave their product sitting on shelves for days at a time, use less chocolate and more sugar and other ingredients to increase shelf life, and don’t use the fresh ingredients that Choklat does because of the shortened shelf life. One part of the sales pitch even suggested looking at the size of Choklat’s fridges – too small for anything more than a few days’ worth of milk, butter, cream, and other fresh ingredients. Further, they talk about the origins of their beans, making their sources all sound like the one last really good place for cocoa beans. (Kind of like coffee or tea, where every shop seems to have discovered the last ‘really good’ source.)
Looking at the menu, frankly, I wasn’t sold. Mostly because of the price – $1.99 per chocolate. (The bars were between $7.50 and $11.99 each!!!) Yes, I’ve heard all of the talk about the price of chocolate going up, but $1.99 for a single chocolate truffle seemed at best, extreme. Even if things are organic, free trade, ethically sourced, yada yada yada, there’s still a limit to something that is ultimately just a luxury. I enjoy higher quality chocolates of course (I’d much rather have a small selection of something really good than a huge box of something from the drug store.) but still, with such high prices, I was only going to be able to sample a few.
We both decided to go ahead and make our selections. I chose the cream cheese (I love chocolate cheesecake, and thought it would be a different spin on this delight) fresh peppermint (mint chocolate has been another treat I’ve enjoyed lately, and since it seemed like a lovely idea to be dessert to the whole sweet experience, ice wine. All of my chocolates were dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in chocolate shavings. (There is a wide variety of what they can be rolled in too, but that’s the only one that appealed to me. I also didn’t want any other flavors competing with my chocolate!) My total with tax came to $6.27. For THREE chocolates.
We sat down briefly to wait, and within a short time were presented with an adorable plastic “chinese take out” style blue box with a brown ribbon containing our treats. The little box fit easily in my purse, where it stayed until I got home.