04_tasting notes: Chocovivo

I first discovered Chocovivo in the same way that I discover most everything in life: Yelp.
I couldn't believe that such a place should exist in my old stomping grounds of Culver City.  It really makes me wish I had never left.  I also couldn't believe I hadn't been yet!

Danny took me here for the first time for my birthday weekend.  The set up is great, it's meant for you taste the chocolates in sets of 3, 6, or all 13.  (do the full thing, for only $10, this is a steal, and is easily shared between 2 people)  While I enjoyed the tasting and am happy to share my tasting notes with you, at first I didn't know how to talk about the chocolate in comparison to the other bean to bars I have already talked about on the blog (Askinosie and Garden Island Chocolate)  Chocovivo's chocolate is gritty, more Mexican style and their varying percentages are no comparison in taste to Askinosie's single origin bars.  I have to be honest and say that my palate prefers the flavors of Askinosie and Garden Island.  What sets Chocovivo apart from the other two for me are their flavors, particularly that they have a new seasonal flavor every month.  For my birthday month (June) it was blood orange+EVOO+sea salt, and it was great!  This month it is Meyer Lemon and Rosemary, which is such a lovely, subtle, but delicious combination.

The other thing which makes me love Chocovivo are their drinking chocolates and the variety which they allow.  Today I tried their new vegan frozen hot chocolate.  They use coconut ice cream and the milk is their house-made hazelnut milk.  Of course, like all the other drinks on their menu, you get to choose your chocolate that you want in it: 100%, 85%, 65%, Mayan Traditional (spicy), or Coffee+vanilla.  I went with the 65%.  This is phenomenal.  Typically $7, the vegan one is $10 because of the substitutions of milk and ice cream, but I don't care.  I would gladly get this drink every time, no question about it.  The four others who I brought with me today agreed.  They talked about coming to Chocovivo for the frozen hot chocolate over going to bars and drinking alcohol.  Yes, please!  This should totally be a thing.

Finally, I love Chocovivo for it's monthly events that it brings to the community.  Today I went because for the 4th of July weekend they are doing s'mores.  It is a platter of 3 s'mores, each with house-made graham crackers and marshmallows.  The chocolate was 65%, Mayan Traditional, and Coffee+Vanilla and they gave us a little table side burner over which to toast the marshmallows.  Such a cute idea and a really fun thing to do with friends.  Later this month I am excited to attend their 1 year anniversary party! (July 18th).

Basically, I am obsessed with Chocovivo.

Now for my tasting notes:
1. 100% cacao: Just too bitter and chalky to be able to eat alone, at least for my palate.
2. 85% cacao: bready, gritty, yeasty (these are good things in my book!)
3. 75% cacao: sweet, berries, sugary grit
4. 65% cacao: tangy, definite citrus flavor
5. Nibby Bar--chocolate+raw nibs: grainy, sweet, graham, nutty (one of my favorites, I hope they make this a standard bar!)
6. Almonds+Sea salt: dry roasted, I liked that the almonds were actually ground up into the chocolate instead of being whole chunks inside, that was an interesting twist on a typical almond bar
7. Hazelnuts+Sea salt: more of a heavy roasted flavor than in a typical hazelnut bar, the smoothest texture of all the bars
8. Macadamia Nut+Coconut: sweet, sour, salty, smooth
9. Blood Orange+EVOO+Sea salt: intense orange flavor, turns gritty in your mouth and the flavor gets deeper as it melts
10. Shangri-La--black sesame and goji berries: subtle sesame flavor followed by herbiness, then sweetness
11. Cherries+Almonds+Black Peppercorn: chunks of sweet and sour cherries heavily accented by the peppercorn, one of my favorites
12. Mayan Traditional: spicy, intense, tasted exactly like the sipping chocolate
13. Coffee+Vanilla Bean: intense espresso flavor, the vanilla is just a background noise to accentuate the coffee taste