Friday, October 16, 2009

Chocolate is Sexy: Shakolad Chocolate Factory

Saturday is Sweetest Day. To all you men out there reading this who just slammed your computer desks and yelled, "[Insert expletive of choice]!" don't worry. I got you.

After I discovered Le Chocolat de Bouchard in Naperville, Illinois (I went back again in August and enjoy another Mayan Hot Cocoa with that signature kick of cayenne), I've had a bit of a fascination with chocolate lounges and cafes. A trip to Gayle's Chocolates in Royal Oak revealed many pretty-in-pink items, but a beverage counter sorely lacking in the one thing they make their trade--chocolate! (Sorry Gayle's, but if it's coffee I want then to a coffee shop I will go; what are you doing being a chocolate store with a beverage counter and not serving any chocolate drinks?!?) And after being spoiled by Le Chocolat, Godiva's Chocolixers (available at the Somerset Collection store) simply just don't cut it.

Thankfully there's Shakolad Chocolate Factory in Birmingham.

Expect all the usual chocolatey treats--truffles and cherries and pretzels and Oreos and caramels and pecan clusters and the like. They also make gifts for special occasions, like wedding favors with your name or delicate chocolate roses. If you want to get really crazy, they even offer intricate chocolate sculptures, like soccer balls ($45 with decoration) and backgammon sets ($80).

Sure, an $80 solid chocolate backgammon set might not sound practical, but you have to's pretty cool.

The environment is everything I've come to expect from a chocolatier: brightly lit and carefully orchestrated, like a high-end boutique where all the items are kept behind a glass case. There's just something inexplicably sexy about chocolate. Sure, maybe it's the endorphins that chocolate releases in your brain (like heroin! no, really), but there is an aphrodisiac-like quality to chocolate. Being in a chocolate store where the items are all so carefully designed and painstakingly displayed and they all look so shiny and new, like precious jewels...sorry, that was my anal-retentiveness talking, my bad. Still...there's something sexy about chocolate. (Here, I'll let Kylie demonstrate for me.) The Aztecs thought so, anyway.

The great thing about Shakolad is that they do offer their own menu of silky, decadent chocolate beverages. Try a Shako-latte, which is the same as a classic latte though instead of steamed milk and espresso, it's steamed milk and chocolate. Or perhaps if you want to spice things up a bit, try a Mexican Cacahuatl, a hot chocolate with real heat. When I was there I tried Angelina's French Hot Chocolate, a "sipping chocolate" (thicker than the Swiss Miss hot cocoa you're used to) made with smooth dark chocolate and hazelnut. The beverage itself was reasonably priced at only $4, but this thing was strong...after a few sips it was just too rich for my blood. I decided to refrigerate the rest and go back to it later, only to find that it has solidified nicely into an PERFECT dark chocolate-hazelnut mousse...which I think I actually enjoyed even more.

Boys, it might sound cliche, but for Sweetest Day you really can't go wrong with a box of sexy, silky sweets from a top-tier chocolatier like Shakolad. Why not put that aphrodisiac theory to the test, hmmm? (Wink wink.)

In the meantime, I'd like to see metro Detroit have its own true chocolate lounge a la Le Chocolat de Bouchard, with a menu of exotic chocolate elixers made with Belgian chocolate and Venezuelan cocoa. Now doesn't that sound sexy? Belgian...Venezuelan...mmmmmm...