The Ultimate Portland Chocolate Box

We chomped through chocolate collections and candy aisles to curate the city’s defining expressions of cacao, from bars to bonbons.

By Karen Brooks February 11, 2015 Published in the February 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

Portland chocolates by Alma, Batch PDX, Xocolatl de David, Woodblock Chocolate, Lillie Belle Farms, Quin, and Cocanu.

One Bite to Rule Them All

Snap into one of Alma’s kingly Habanero Caramel Crowns and slurp the elegantly wicked goo running from the center. One softly smoldering bite, and you’ll genuflect.

Heart of Darkness

A bird, a big heart, a bold bite, and a little rock-’n’-roll shimmer. What could be more PDX than Alma Chocolate’s Amor, a barrio-worthy chocolate tattoo, hand-casted and gilded in edible gold? 

Double Vision

Batch PDX’s Twicks Bar slam-dunks the original candy bar with better shortbread, a linger of butter and caramel ooze, and good milk chocolate. Its dark-star twin, the Batch Bar, is like a magic trick—tasting like a bittersweet Twix to start, and then, suddenly, morphing to a full-on toasted-coconut macaroon.

The Artisan Snickers

Xocolatl de David’s Bourbon Raleigh Bar is a Snickers bar in a smoking jacket swigging a raisin-rumbling port—the best bite of chocolate, pecans, and wicked-dark caramel anywhere. Two more stunners: the ultra-silky Brown Butter Bar and the Brown Butter Crunch

Safe Word: Cacao!

The romance of roasted cacao is all that matters to Woodblock Chocolate’s bean-to-bar explorer Charley Wheelock (see profile): be it sour and assertive or fruity and wild. These are less gobble-’em-up candy bars than direct flights to far-flung chocolate ecosystems. Our favorites: Peru, Trinidad, Salt & Nibs.  

Super Crunch

Central Point outlier Lillie Belle Farms’ “The Most Awesome Chocolate Bar EVER!” delivers several inches of pleasure that taste somewhere between milk and dark chocolate. Inside: dainty, nutty gianduja, a bark of salt, and a remarkable eggshell of crunch.  

High Bar

Alma’s baroque Sea Salt Hazelnut Crunch Bar comes on like a lumberjack opera, with every note screaming Oregon: macho Woodblock Chocolate, a logjam of nutty cream, and a chainsaw buzz of local salt, bright and briny, slicing through the top.  

Killing Me Softly

The perfect chasers for a chocolate bonbon? Quin caramels, surging with Oregon ingredients. Try Old World Apple, churned from heirloom varieties and somehow channeling apple pie filling, and buttery, smoky orbs of Coffee + Orange + Smoked Salt.  

Crackle & Pop

Cocanú bars are all chocolate beauty and punchy fun. With Moonwalk, Sebastian Cisneros crafts a lovable lunar landscape, its surface quietly exploding in teeny blue Pop Rocks. His Craque is something else: a caramelized, crunchy snack for cocoa-nib nerds.

Two Portland chocolate-bar shrines stock most of these selections. Head to downtown’s Cacao or NW Portland’s The Meadow for one-stop shopping.
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