Mmmmm…Chocolates!

artisinal chocolates in Napa Valley

Lest you think we did nothing but drink wine on our visit to Napa Valley last month, mais non, we also tasted some lovely locally made artisanal chocolates! The first shop we found was on Main Street in Saint Helena, Woodhouse Chocolate.

With window displays like these, how could we not go in?

Easter chocolate window displays

We selected a few assorted pieces and truffles from the dozen or so varieties in the case…

selecting assorted chocolates

The shop definitely had a French vibe. Note the Lady and The Unicorn tapestry above…

Woodhouse chocolates brown butter ganache fleur de lis

and these fleur-de-lis-shaped ganaches, which were a favorite of mine. I also picked up a bar of the 75% dark chocolate which was excellent.

Kollar chocolates, artisanal chocolate in Yountville

Down the valley a few miles in Yountville, we stumbled across Kollar Chocolates, a small shop and show kitchen in the V Marketplace. The picture above is from their website; when we visited the shop was full of people and it was hard to get pictures. Chris Kollar is a self-taught chocolatier, and likes to create confections mixing sweet and savory tastes. A favorite of mine was the Fennel Pollen truffle. I also especially liked the Lavender truffle and one with chili.

beautiful chocolate truffles from Chris Kollar

The truffles and other confections are not only unique and delicious, but truly beautiful as well.

We also spent a little time in the town of Napa itself, wandering around the Oxbow Public Market. It’s mostly a giant, upscale food court, but they also have a few stalls selling small home goods, packaged foods and cookery accoutrements.

assortment of bitters for cocktails

I was especially fascinated with this shop which featured a huge assortment of “bitters” for cocktails and recipes as well as other spirits and mixers. I meant to swing back and pick up a few of those bitters to try, but we ran out of time.

Do you have a favorite chocolatier, or type of chocolate or truffle?

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16 Comments

  1. Susan
    April 11, 2017 / 7:05 am

    Lovely they look incredible. I am visiting my niece in Yountville and St Helena later this week. Do you have suggestions for some can’t miss things to see and do?

  2. April 11, 2017 / 9:29 am

    Oh, I love Woodhouse! I bought a rather tall Eiffel Tower made of chocolate there years ago. I’m going to need to pop over the hill and see that Easter window display in person soon!

  3. April 11, 2017 / 9:57 am

    Godiva chocolate liqueur…delicious!

  4. April 11, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Oh chocolate! Such a balm for my weary soul sometimes. Heh. There is a lovely chocolate cafe in Vancouver, Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe, a high-falutin’ name for some low-down YUM!!!! As a special treat I go there. I usually avoid these shops. If I’ve been “off” chocolate for a while, once I start again it’s hard to stop the cravings. These are lovely photos.

  5. April 11, 2017 / 10:40 am

    I love those specialty chocolate shops! Such creative things, it feels a shame to eat them…but I do:)

  6. April 11, 2017 / 11:01 am

    I visit a close friend in Napa often, and Oxbow is almost always on the itinerary. Foodie heaven. I consider chocolate and chilis a natural pairing, but maybe that’s just my California showing.

  7. Jannie
    April 11, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    Love great chocolat! I do have a comment from a previous blog…being the wife of a dentist, I found it interesting that spending money on a crown to improve your dental health was a huge expense. However, spending 200-300 on a pair of shoes or pants isn’t a problem. Just being devil’s advocate 🙂

    • Susan B
      April 11, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      If crowns only cost $200-300 I’d have less of an issue. That’s usually just the small fraction that insurance picks up. 😉 However the news was good: neither the crown nor the tooth had broken so they were able to cement it back in place for a nominal charge.

    • RoseAG
      April 12, 2017 / 8:28 am

      Maybe it’s because I live in Washington DC, but crowns run about $2,500, onlays slightly less. If you’ve had the misfortune to have a root canal before hand it nearly doubles the price.
      Even with dental insurance that’s not chump change. I’m grateful to have the money to pay for it!

      With crowned teeth it’s usually best not to pull the floss back up — unless you like scrambling around to undo the drain trap and find that pricey little tooth if it comes out.

      • Susan B
        April 12, 2017 / 8:55 am

        That’s about the going rate here too….

    • April 12, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Jannie, the problem is that people NEED dental care, and don’t need such expensive shoes, trousers or handbags (though they might be an asset for work reasons). It means a lot of suffering. Not your spouse’s fault; the problem is the lack of dental care here (in Canada) and any kind of healthcare at all in the US.

  8. April 11, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    I don’t really have a favorite when it comes to chocolate. However, chocolate is very medicinal to me when it is time for soothing a stressful day or medicating myself for a pity party! Yum. I will say this though, Those Brown Butter Ganaches–I would have downed at least a dozen of them!
    I need to look for a recipe now!!

  9. April 11, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    What a lovely way to spend an afternoon! They all look so delicious, too. I appreciate little shops like this, especially in this day and age of fast, mass-produced things. It is great to see the art of chocolate being practiced. There is a shop in Sydney, tucked away on Darling Street, called Belle Fleur worth a visit. Charming interior, delicious chocolates of every kind imaginable and a staff that let’s you linger. Although, they didn’t have Earl Grey and that’s the one I’d choose to OD on! 🙂

  10. Susan
    April 12, 2017 / 1:05 am

    I love Godiva’s macadamia nut with coconut milk chocolate and an Australian chocolate, Koko Black’s milk chocolate with nuts. Those chocolates in the shops you visited are a work of art snd too beautiful to eat.

  11. April 12, 2017 / 10:44 am

    I’m not fond of sweets, perhaps a bit of vary bitter chocolate, like 90% cocoa. What I want is that copy of La Dame à la licorne! And if there is wine, there must be CHEESE!

  12. Jill Ann
    April 12, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    I love chocolate, and I’m a huge fan of Teuscher and Neuhaus. Teuscher Champagne truffles are to die for…we used to have a shop here in Houston but it sadly closed several years ago. Now, I can only get Teuscher when I go to New York (the shop is at Rockefeller Center). Neuhaus is more readily available, and my very favorite of theirs is the dark chocolate covered orange peel. Mmmmmmmmmmm………

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