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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dessert at Choicolate

Posted on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Release Date: 2010-05-19

The Fast Foodie is a faithful adherent to that well-worn maxim attributed to Ernestine Ulmer: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” We’ve even been known to eat dessert only, although not just any dessert because we’re not an indiscriminate sweet tooth. When it comes to chocolate, for instance, we like it strictly dark and bitter, like our favorite comedians. And while we tend to disdain the fetishization of food, in the case of the geometric baubles at Stone Oak’s Choicolate, the jewelry-store presentation gets a pass.

The display and sales room is so clean and spare we questioned whether proprietrix, namesake, and chocolatier Jamie Choi really makes the confections on-site. Yes, is the answer, and the little printed guide that comes with each box (to prevent your family members and coworkers from discreetly poking exploratory holes in their perfect bottoms) encourages you to eat them within 10 days to appreciate the full flavors. Those 11 house flavors include Earl Grey, raspberry bites, honey hazelnut, and the recently re-popularized salted caramel. Each piece is a hefty little work of art, and Choi’s friendly partner Young Yang handles them like a preparateur: a geodesic dome of faceted mahogany filled with a creamy dulce-de-leche coffee center, or a brick of dense and very subtly hot mango and habanero ganache encased in an ebony sarcophagus and emblazoned with an orange and gold silkscreen. There is even a perfect mound of caramel-colored milk vanilla for … actually, we don’t know what that’s for. A palate cleanser between real chocolates? An edible pacifier for a grumpy 2-year-old?

In accordance with the skill and schooling involved in their production — South Korea native Choi is a graduate of SA’s own St. Philip’s College culinary program and the Chicago Chocolate Academy — Choicolates are not priced for bulk stocking stuffing. A box of 10 is $20 ($11 for 5), but what a beautiful box it is, suitable for apologies, bribery, and celebrations.

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