Spain for Chocolate?

When asked about the best chocolatiers in the world, many people think of northern Europe: France, Switzerland, and Belgium. But enter Spain, whose Cacao Sampaka has redefined the traditional gastronomic experience of cacao. Owned by Albert Adrià, the former pastry chef at El Bulli and brother of Ferran of Tickets & 4 fame, its whimsical chocolatiers have made traditional, handcrafted chocolates cosmopolitan. They have redesigned ingredient pairings to create unique flavor experiences; gone are the ganaches and nougats in place of unorthodox, almost schismatic, ingredients. From curry to parmesan to wasabi to balsamic vinegar, these Spanish chocolates exhibit the infinite creativity in the art of chocolate making. Creations of single bean origin – Tanzania, Ecuador, and Madagascar – sit aside those with ingredients of Indonesian origin – clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg – in a display of chocolates that would please the exquisite palate of even the most discerning of chocolate lovers. While many would call this a gourmet chocolate shop, gourmet is too mediocre. It is simply sublime.

A Unique Spin on Gelato

For lovers of Gelato, the artisianal Fatamorgana is must while in Rome.  Located in the Trastevere, this gelateria is described as “a fine atelier of the frozen dessert, where hand-made gelato becomes an extraordinary experience.” In addition to the classic flavors of chocolate, stracciatella, pistachio, and tiramisu, the adventurous can sample some of their more innovative creations:  pear & gorgonzola cheese; pumpkin with its carmelized seeds; Sardinian pecorino cheese; chestnut, honey, & orange peel; or wasabi chocolate. However, being a born and bred southerner, I was most intrigued by the Kentucky, a chocolate gelato infused with the flavors of tobacco and cinnamon cream. Try it if you dare.

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