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Review: Cacao Drinking Chocolate

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Review: Cacao Drinking Chocolate

A flight of Cacao's drinking chocolates

Joshua Liberles

Chocolate has been around for millennia, and its earliest form was as a bitter drink in Central and South America. Since that time, chocolate has become one of the world's most popular flavors, and it shows up in everything from mole sauces to desserts of all types. But drinking chocolates may be the most decadent, satisfying presentation of chocolate there is, and Portland has several destinations serving up terrific, rich concoctions. Cacao is among the most well-known destination for drinking chocolates, and that notoriety is deserved.

First off, it must be noted that drinking chocolates are a long way from hot chocolate -- the servings are typically small, from two to seven ounces, and the consistency is quite thick for a drink. There's also usually a much higher percentage of cacao then you'll find in hot chocolate: think of an exquisite dark chocolate bar melted into a glass. Kids' stuff this is not.

If you're a chocolate lover, add Cacao to your must-visit list.

Drink Your Chocolate

Cacao has a whole lot more than drinking chocolate, including some of the best small-batch chocolate products from around the world. But the fact that "drinking chocolate" is right there in the name says a lot about how prominent the decadent elixirs are to the business' lineup.

Cacao opened in 2006 and since that time it has become known as one of the premier chocolate-lovers' destination in Portland.

Cacao offers three varieties of drinking chocolates: the Rivoli dark drinking chocolate which features 79% cacao dark Ecuadorian chocolate, milk and cream; the cinnamon-infused drinking chocolate, which blends 49% cacao Venezuelan milk chocolate, 65% cacao Venezuelan dark chocolate, milk and cream; and the spicy dark drinking chocolate, which adds cayenne pepper, ginger and smoked paprika to the Rivoli dark concoction.

You can order one seven ounce drinking chocolate for $5 or a two ounce shot for $2. Whether you're in the mood to share or you're going solo, the three-shot flight ($6) is the way to go, however. Each flavor is fabulous, and the variety will take your palate on an adventure.

The spiced chocolate will bring you some heat and perk you right up; the pure dark chocolate is an intense experience not to be missed; and the cinnamon-infused chocolate serves as the even-more-desserty relief you'll need to chill out from all of that excitement.

And, in case all the cayenne-spiked endorphins and the mood enhancement and caffeine-with-sugar buzz from the chocolate isn't enough, you can get a shot of espresso on the side, or create an amazingly rich and chocolaty mocha with any of those drinking chocolate varieties as well.

Pros:

  • Decadent, delicious drinking chocolates everyone should experience

  • A whole lot of other small-batch chocolate from local and global chocolatiers

  • Great espresso to get extra peppy

Cons:

  • If you're looking for ski lodge cocoa, this isn't it

  • Chocolate, sugar, cream and milk = not exactly low calorie

Cacao's Basics:

  • Cacao Drink Chocolate has two locations: 414 SW 13th Avenue and in the Heathman Hotel at 712 SW Salmon Street.
  • Website: cacaodrinkchocolate.com
  • Phone: 503-241-0656 (Heathman); 503-274-9510 (SW 13th Avenue)
  • Cuisine: Chocolate, drinking chocolate, espresso
  • Average tab per diner: $6, credit cards accepted
  • Hours: Heathman Hotel: Monday - Wednesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 10a.m.-6p.m. SW 13th Avenue: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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