Buyer beware: A visit to Chocolatl may be the start of a lifelong addiction. On my first visit to this new chocolate shop, I spent the equivalent of a meal out on cocoa confections.
Chocolatl is closer to a chocolate boutique than a chocolate shop. Two walls are filled with bars stacked in deep, narrow shelves like exclusive fragrances. The packaging of each bar indicates which bean it is made from, the country or region of origin and the cacao percentage.
After an hour of browsing, dizzy from American owner Erik's encyclo-paedic chocolate knowledge and the free samples, I left with a bar of Le 100% Criollo from French chocolatier Francois Pralus.
I am an unwavering dark chocolate lover (there are plenty of milk and white chocolate options too), but this 100% cacao bar, which has an intense flavour verging on bitter and a luxurious buttery mouth feel, was unlike any other dark chocolate I’ve tasted. It has become a staple in my house.
I also bought François Pralus’ silky Chuao (75%); and a less appealing fruity Tanzanian Trinitario (72%), produced by maverick chocolate maker Shawn Askinosie in Missouri.
For the more adventurous, Chocolatl carries the Vosges brand. Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar, for instance, is flavoured with smoked salt and crunchy fragments of real bacon. I didn’t find the texture of the chocolate as interesting as the other bars I tried, but the combination of sweet, smoky and savoury was fascinating - like eating chocolate while standing next to a barbecue.
Most chocolate bars cost around €5-€6, which is extremely reasonable for the quality. Chocolatl’s priciest bar is the Porcelana (€10.75), an aromatic and surprisingly creamy dark chocolate made from a rare Venezuelan bean by Italian chocolate maker Amedei.
Chocolatl is located on Hazenstraat, Amsterdam's so-called 'tenth street' (a name dreamt up by shopkeepers to profit from the popularity of the nearby Nine Streets). Thankfully, this is on the other side of town from my house, otherwise I would be in danger of frittering away my salary on a daily cacao hit.
Tue-Sat 10.00-18.00; Sun 12.00-17.00
Telephone: 020 755 5047
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