Biagio Bliss (Cocova)

(**Update: this store is now called Cocova...they just changed the name that is all!)

Last Sunday I was made aware of one of D.C.'s best chocolate shops, and, most importantly, they were having a chocolate tasting.  I have been to chocolate tastings before, most of which were not impressive.  This one, however, was very well done.  There were about 15 different chocolates and confections to taste, while the most organized piece of it all was a special information sheet, with prices, that was handed out to the samplers.  This way, we could go from sample to sample and make notes.  I can never remember the names and brands, and I find the pricing to be an interesting aspect, so I was excited to have a little cheat sheet. 

After passing the Bling King, and willing myself not to pull over and go shopping,  we arrived at Biagio.  We entered into the small chocolate shop, below street level.  My first impression was that the shop looked more like a jewelry store than a chocolate shop.  It had thin carpeting, and quiet atmosphere, with glassed cases and small shelved displays.  However, as we were greeted by a smiling artsy looking middle aged guy behind the counter, it felt relaxed and not intimidating. 

We were directed into the back tasting room.  I am a big dark chocolate fan, but there was plenty of variety for all palettes.
A mocha bar, and a Valrhona bar with bits of candied orange peel....

One of my favorites was a 72% chocolate bar with crunchy cocoa nibs (pieces of the actual cocoa bean).

 Chocolate covered puffed rice.
Judging from my one piece sample, it would be way too easy to eat these by the handful.

Pistachio truffles with real pistachio nut pieces.

There was also an incredible Green Tea Milk Chocolate bar made by Dolfin, that tasted amazingly like milky, chocolaty, bright machta green tea.

It was definitely one of the most helpful chocolate tastings that I have ever been to.  It was informative regarding the chocolate brands, and expected flavors, while not being was not overcrowded with hungry samplers.  Also, with so many offerings, I learned about a few chocolatiers that I had never even heard of.  

After all the hard work of sampling was done, I chose two to take home with me.  One special bar of dark chocolate with crunchy nibs from the Paris chocolatier Michel Cluizel, and two small bars of crispy peanut butter praline topped with milk chocolate and honey ganache, from the local Arlington chocolate makers Artisan Confections.  However, on this same day I was also picking up a birthday present (mine), that was ordered for me from across the country.  I was given one box wrapped up with a soft purple bow.  

Dark chocolate fig bonbons.
Not only are they dipped in, but the preserved figs are also infused with, dark chocolate and brandy. 

Better than a birthday cake.

When it comes to specialty chocolates, I am definitely the kid in the candy could not have been a more indulgent way to celebrate a birthday.  Thanks Mom!


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