I have long been a fan of chocolate as you may know. But until I started leading Chocolate Tours around Los Angeles, I never paid much attention to how chocolate was made or where it came from. Until I stumbled upon ChocoVivo. First opened on popular Abbot Kinney in Venice, ChocoVivo was created by a young lady named Patricia Tsai who left a career in Finance to step into the delicious world of chocolate. She sources her cacao beans from a grower in Mexico and ships them to her shop now located on a stretch of Washington Boulevard in Mar Vista. On Mondays, she and her team grind the whole, raw cacao into a working chocolate that she then makes into chocolate bars, drinking chocolate and even baking chocolate.
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Our tour groups stop at her shop during Chocolate Tour West, and many guests tell me later how much they learned during our visit to ChocoVivo. Patricia always invites our guests to drop by on a Monday to watch the chocolate-grinding process. So I finally decided to visit ChocoVivo on a recent Monday. As I watched the cacao going through the grinder (once, sometimes twice) and then being spread on pans for cooling in the “chocolate vault” I was fascinated really by the simplicity of the process. No fillers, colors or milk powder. The white stuff sprinkled atop the cacao nibs was unrefined sugar…gotta make the chocolate a little sweet! But I also saw cranberries, walnuts and other natural ingredients close by. In fact during the hour I watched the chocolate grinding process, I munched on one of their seasonal chocolate bars, the Turkey Stuffing Bar. And honestly, it totally captured Thanksgiving in a chocolate bar! A combination of sweet and savory flavors with the walnuts, cranberry, flavors of orange and vanilla with a few select spices as seen in the ingredient list here. I bought a bar as a gift, and it never made it to the party! I ate it myself! So I am declaring that Turkey Stuffing Chocolate Bar from ChocoVivo as my best bite of the week!
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By Trish Procetto