As much as I love to travel and try new flavors and chocolate blends, most of my life is lived in one place. DC used to be home, and one of my favorite places there was Cocova – granting access to some of the most exciting chocolate bars from around the world. All in one shop!

Cocova in Washington, DC | The Chocolate Tourist blog

Cocova brings the world’s chocolate to 18th Street in Adams Morgan

Being home for Christmas meant paying a visit to one of my favorite DC sights – albeit slightly off the grid where tourist destinations are concerned. I’d wager a guess that your average visitor to the nation’s capital are more interested in historical sites, museums and art galleries.

But the District has some pretty nifty chocolate offerings too.

Cocova highlights local chocolates and bars from around the world. Here you’ll find representations from Saint Louis, New York, Paris and London. All around the shop are Valrhona samples. Chocolate tastings are held regularly.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons, Cocova is the place to start!

The flavor of chocolate makers the world over - all in one place | Cocova in Washington, DC on The Chocolate Tourist blog

A world of chocolate on a few shelves

Virginia's single origin, small batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker: Potomac Chocolate | The Chocolate Tourist blog

Virginia’s single origin, small batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker

Valerie and I did a tour with Ben Rasmussen of Potomac Chocolate a couple years ago. Take a peek into the world of bean-to-bar chocolate making below:

With that much care and commitment, 8 dollars a bar doesn’t seem like much! Taste the love.

A visit to Cocova – especially at Christmas – is an awakening. So much chocolate, so little time. I had a heckuva geeky good time perusing the shelves and reading labels. The one dark spot on my sunny chocolate visit was the Pralus shelf – one space sadly empty.

“What happened to your 100% bars?” I asked the knowledgeable store manager – as addicted to obscure chocolate knowledge as I.

She sighed with a sympathetic awareness of the miracle that is the Pralus 100% bar. With no sweeteners, emulsifiers, or additional flavorings, the 100% is all chocolate. Pure, glorious, single-origin chocolate made from Madagascar beans and French know-how.

It’s awesome. And incidentally, one of Cocova’s most popular bars.

“We’re out of them,” she responded regretfully. More were due in, but not until after Christmas. And I would be long gone by then.

Ever the optimist, I chose the closest thing I could find – Michel Cluizel’s 99% bar. Still a power punch of chocolate intensity, but the texture and flavor were off for me. It was good. But compared to my beloved Pralus, it just wasn’t the same.

Perhaps, as the French would say, I’m seeking my madeleine….

Michel Cluizel 99% bar at Cocova in Washington, DC | The Chocolate Tourist blog

A deep, dark chocolate that’s more savory than sweet

What do you think? Would you try a chocolate bar devoid of any sweetening ingredients?

I’m curious what you make of it.

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