Chocolate Chocolate in Washington, DC
Posted by The Chocolate Tourist on April 9th 2014 @ 2:35 pm
A simple elegance, the name of this downtown DC family business says it all. If you’re looking for chocolate, you’ll find it here. As it happens, I am – and I did.
Chocolate Chocolate is in the middle of the busy corporate part of DC, where the strides are quick and the eye contact is nil. But step inside this tiny chocolate shop and suddenly it’s a cozy neighborhood feel. If I ever move back to DC, I will adopt this place as my very own chocolate fix.
Ginger and Francie Park, proprietors, still man the counter – two sisters who opened the place in 1984 and are still cheerfully informing and supplying our chocolate choices.
The woman ahead of me in line chats with Ginger about her son who has every allergy known to man. Even after she leaves, the store reverberates with sympathy. This is my kind of place.
A glance around the shop: lots of Lake Champlain chocolates and cocoa mix (Vermont, represent), with a wall dedicated to bulk candy dispensers and an in-depth display of Taza chocolate (what’s up, Massachusetts).
In the chocolate case: French, Belgian, Swiss, American bonbons. Handmade truffles from Ginger, in small batches. A cornucopia of the world’s chocolate offerings, right here for ordinary cosmopolitans to enjoy.
I’m surprised and intrigued by the books lining the shelves behind the counter. Turns out our chocolatiers are authors! Writing and chocolate, my two loves! There are several picture books for children (not about chocolate, ironically) and a grown-up book on feeding kids who have allergies.
I’m Christmas shopping, so I choose a few Taza bars (an extra for myself) and a box of Ginger’s homemade truffles. One of which is cracked, so Francie gives it to me on the house. Isn’t that sweet?
Trying to seem self-controlled, I ignore the otherwise-perfect coconut truffle and while my purchases are ringing up I cast another glance at the books – one of which bears the same name as the store itself. “Chocolate Chocolate?” I ask. “What is that about?”
OK, hold it.
At this moment my heart is talking to me and my brain is talking back. My face is replying to Francie: something mildly interesting about running a chocolate blog and video series and how much I love learning chocolate-makers’ stories, blah blah blah.
But inside, I need this book. I must read it and have it for my own. But I’m dropping a wad of cash on chocolate and I don’t even have all my gifts yet.
Budgets are real, people.
Ever the pragmatist, my brain reasons that I can buy the book later, after my bank account has a chance to recover from December, 2013. Resolute – if a bit disappointed – I exit the tiny, beautiful shop of happiness with a bag full of goodies and an extra truffle just for me.
Now that the distraction of books is gone, it’s time for a truffle tasting. After one bite, I know I need to go back inside. The truffle is rich and coconutty with a hint of liqueur. The chocolate shell is perfect, caving the merest touch.
It tastes like love – not romantic love, but the kind of care and interest that motivates people to open a chocolate shop and run it for over 25 years.
My heart was right – I need that book.
I tried to leave without it and it called me back.
I’m so glad it did. The Chocolate Chocolate sisters sign it for me and send me off with a wave and a smile. I can barely wait to get on the train and crack it open.
But more about that Friday.
Is there a book or a place that has inspired you lately? One that calls you back, even though your brain tries to talk you out of it?
Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Just go with it.
Post filed under Family Business, The Chocolate Tourist, Washington DC and tagged #TheChocolateTourist, author, chocolate shop, chocolate story, DC chocolate shop, Frances Parks, Ginger Parks, local chocolate, memoir.