Tucked away in a residential neighborhood where you’d never expect it lies one of the Triangle’s best hidden treasures. Escazu Artisan Chocolates offers artisan chocolates made from beans imported from South America roasted and husked in-house. The place has a hippy homey sort of feel. I think it’s best described as a modern chocolate shop with a small town vibe.
Escazu offers artisan chocolates that run the gamut from dulce de leche to amaretto and garam masala. They have a whole line involving alcohol which includes fun favorites like apple pie moonshine, honey liqueur, and cherry vodka.
We started things off by trying the chocolate covered orange peel. Sweetness from the orange peel nicely contrasted with a chocolate just bitter enough to provide balance. I found it refreshing. Next up was the pink pepper white chocolate. What a bizarre taste! Each bite yields a sweet peppery taste and bits of peppercorn and pieces that feel like bits of herbs in your mouth. It wasn’t a bad taste per se just really different than any chocolate I’ve indulged in before. Next up was the North Carolina Blueberry chocolate. If you’re a dark chocolate lover you’ll really love this chocolate. The wonderful bitterness of dark chocolate combines with real, fresh blueberry taste for a fruity chocolatey bite of heaven. Next up was mint. Surprisingly, this one wasn’t very minty. The taste of chocolate came through fairly strong without the accompanying bitterness often present with most dark chocolate varieties. You then got a bit of tartness followed by mint on the back of each bite. Last was white chocolate cardamom. If you have a huge sweet tooth and enjoy very sweet things you’ll be a fan. White chocolate came through prominently followed by mild cardamom. Since I’m not the biggest fan of thick ganache that’s found in the middle of many chocolates, I enjoyed that this chocolate had a thinner, lighter, sweeter filling. For my taste buds this was the best of the bunch. But, I love super super sweet things! If you prefer more bitter dark chocolates and milk chocolates to white chocolate you may not enjoy this one as much.
The chocolates were unique and very enjoyable, but the star of the show was the sweet potato ice cream push-up with brown sugar and marshmallow. How come push-ups were never this amazing when I was a kid? Mild and milky, the ice cream was beautifully flavored by a level of sweet potato that pleased but didn’t overwhelm. The top of the push-up was covered in a layer of slightly crunchy brown sugar which added a little something special to an already wonderful treat. Each bite was nicely balanced and marshmallows were evenly placed throughout. From the joy I saw on the face of everyone eating a push-up I’m confident that no matter what flavor you try, you’ll find these things to be a cool and wonderful treat.
Escazu is a fun change of pace from the usual after dinner sweet shops. The neighborhood feel of the area it’s located in makes a trip to the shop feel like a stop at the ice cream parlor or the ice cream truck like when you were a kid. The chocolates are well made and incredibly creative. Next time you’re in the area make it a point to stop in.