Monday, May 27, 2013

Cocoamoda: Chocolates

Update (2/3/16): For more current blog posts regarding Cocoamoda, please go here. To order chocolates online (highly recommended) go to their website. The chocolate shop is still open, with reduced hours: Wednesdays through Sundays 10 am - 6 pm. The chocolates are still being made by hand each day. For updates regarding Chef Ken's accident and recovery visit his CaringBridge blog or the business' facebook page. They will not have weekend dinner service until Chef Ken fully recovers.

Original Blog Post:

Recently my folks came to Texas to visit The Lovely Spouse and I.  We live in a small town so we struggled with the eternal question of what to do when we don't want to travel far.  On this particular trip we decided to visit another small town about 20 minutes away: Calvert, TX.

The small town of Calvert, TX. Most people only see it from their cars along Highway 6.
Calvert is home to a chocolatier whom we had heard was one of the best in the world. So we had to find out for ourselves.

Cocoamoda stands out as you drive from the South heading North on  highway 6.  Also, watch out for the construction  Calvert's in the process of getting a make-over.
Cocoamoda is located on a corner of Main Street, also known as Highway 6, running straight through the middle of town. The town is so small, that if you miss it, park your car and walk around until you find it.

Cocoamoda also has a garden cafe out the back.  I'm told special events are often hosted there.
We visited on a Sunday afternoon, when not much else was open.  And upon entering were greeted by the chocolatier and chef himself: Ken Wilkinson.  And a gorgeous restaurant space in a lovingly restored historical building.  There were very few people in there the day we visited, however the very personable Chef Wilkinson put us at ease and talked with us while we enjoyed an afternoon tea.  We learned that Chef had been a television chef on a syndicated show called Cable Cookery in the 80s.  We also learned about all of the wonderfully flavorful chocolates available at the shop.

Chef Ken Wilkinson is a natural at hospitality.

The lovely dining room on a Sunday afternoon.
So how do I rate the chocolate?  The best I've had anywhere, hands down.  Better than the best chocolate I've had in Italy, imported from anywhere in Europe, or available anywhere else in the US.  Perfectly tempered chocolate.  Fillings made with all natural, real ingredients, not artificial extracts (nothing wrong with artificial flavors, but  you can tell the difference).  The key lime truffles tasted like actual limes, blended beautifully with smooth white chocolate.  The lavender truffles were filled with real lavender, with its herbal twang and accented with white chocolate.  The blackberry truffles had a smooth blackberry gelee inside and were enrobed in a perfectly complementary blend of dark chocolate.  The milk and honey truffles beat any milk chocolate truffle on the planet for creamy smooth texture and delicate taste.  All unbelievably for around $3 a truffle.

Yummy chocolates. 
And the tea?  We stayed for a proper tea.  The Lovely Spouse and I elected to try an herbal sage infusion recommended by the Chef.  We will be having fresh sage tea in the future.  It was lovely.  If you enjoy the flavor and aroma of fresh sage it can't be beat.  Mom had a "regular" English tea which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Sage tea.  Surprisingly complex.
Will we be back?  YES! We've made reservations for an anniversary dinner there.  Chef Wilkinson is also a classically trained chef who hosts dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. The menu is what he decides to serve for the week.  Based upon what I saw on his facebook page, it's all amazing.

I highly recommend Cocoamoda.  You won't be disappointed.  Please check their website for hours of operation. If you can't make it to Calvert, TX you can also purchase their awesome creations on their website.

Chocolate: where it all starts.