“‘Tis the season to indulge—fa, la, la, la—I want more chocolate!”
It’s the busiest time of the year and we all need a respite from holiday stress from time to time. For me, that means indulging in the decadent taste of creamy, dark chocolate, which is why I recently found myself at three of Northeast Portland’s best bean-to-bar chocolatiers.
Pitch Dark Modern American Chocolate
Every true chocolate connoisseur should stop in at Pitch Dark Modern American Chocolate on Sandy Blvd. Their truffles and mousse selections are made from the best cocoa beans harvested across the world in places like Ecuador, Fiji, Madagascar, and Nicaragua. All their products range between 70-80% pure cacao to satisfy those who love bitter, as well as sweet varieties. I found the Ecuadoran mousse to have a slightly fruity flavor that was quite a nice surprise.
Along with their truffle and mousse selections, they also offers Jacobsen sea salt and pinot noir bars, drinking chocolate, and even chocolate bitters. The kitchen is just behind their counter, so if you stop in when the chocolatiers are at work you’ll find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a chocolate factory.
Pitch Dark Modern American Chocolate: 5353 NE Sandy Blvd., 97213, pitchdarkchocolate.com
For a old-fashion candy store feel take your chocoholics to Creo Chocolate on NE Broadway, where the beautiful 1920 building’s exterior hints at the retro sweet shop inside. The scrumptious aroma of roasting chocolate beans and a glass case filled with truffles will be waiting for you when you open the door, but don’t stop there! Creo offers drink mixes, candy bars, cookies and many other products that feature their house-made chocolate.
Creo consistently uses only one variety of cacao bean but turns in into many delectable dark chocolate treats with 73%, 85% and 100% flavor intensity, like their Minty Dark, Spicy Dark (cinnamon and cayenne), and locally influenced products, such as their NW Dark Cherry and Hazelnut, among many others. The factory offers pre-arranged tours for a fee for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the magic of chocolate crafting, and you can even take a turn at creating your own chocolate creation.
Creo Chocolate: 122 NE Broadweay, 477-8927, 97232 creochocolate.com
Ranger Chocolate Company
If you’re looking for a coffee shop vibe with a chocolate candy center go to Ranger Chocolate Company on Martin Luther King Blvd., where they produce small-batch chocolates with ethically-sourced cacao beans. Pair your pick with a cup of coffee from their tasting room, Cup and Bar, and settle in for a tasty treat.
Ranger imports all of its beans from just three regions of Peru and creates only one signature sweet per bean variety: San Martin (70%), Tumbes (73%), and Chulucanas (80%). A “wild card” bar made from whatever beans or blend of beans the chocolatiers want to experiment with is also available to try. You’ll find the product line at Ranger also includes sauces, candies and even granola using its chocolate. We took home a delicious Vanilla Caramel Chocolate Cream that will soon be a topping for homemade ice cream. Ranger’s features a wall of large windows where visitors can watch their chocolate being made or you can book a behind-the-scenes tour through the company’s website
Ranger Chocolate Company: 118 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 575-7043, 97232, rangerchocolate.com