There comes a time in life when you must establish your priorities; and in terms of food, one of mine is the art of chocolate. There is more than a thin line separating the milk and dark varieties, and my allegiance clearly falls in the latter category. To be specific, 60-75% cacao content is my ideal if we are going to get nerdy about it, and as some of you might remember I have a passion for the classic
During my ongoing journeys in the wonderful town of San Sebastian, in the Basque country, I stumbled across one of the best chocolate shops one could ever want. Something that can compete with the likes of Jacque Torres, Vosges, or Maison du Chocolate in New York, but with a quainter and equally welcoming environment.
Chocolates de Mendaro
4.5 stars out of 5 stars
Analyzing the sweets:
Mendaro’s is best represented through their line of bonbons and truffles. They have created 100 bonbons: each shell is available in a selection of chocolates and the inner flavors range from honey to rum to dried fruit! Note that this is one of the rare shops that actually offers the option of buying a plain chocolate truffle, called normal, which is simply composed of chocolate with no fillings or other ingredients and each bite is outstanding! Since my Spanish todavía no es bueno, I experienced a slight language barrier. However, the man who assisted me gave more than 100% effort to translate ingredients into English.
Between the samples given to me at the store and my to-go bag, I couldn’t find a sub par flavor in the lot. Furthermore, the intensity of aroma and chocolate here rivals the top contenders I have found anywhere. However, if you thought that the excitement stops here, try again: deeply rich truffles, chocolate figures, and wonderful bars or “tabletas” of chocolate play their part in the fantastic collection. Mendaro also sells liquor filled chocolates, including the local favorites of cider and the liqueur patxaran, as well as the holiday specialty of Turrón, which is composed of an almond nougat. If you have the opportunity, also take the time to view their
in the town of Mendaro where the cocoa has been processed since 1850!
While thoroughly indulging my senses in Mendaro’s treats, I purchased two tablets of chocolate: the normal dark chocolate is 60% cacao while the bitter contains a slightly higher 75%. It is difficult to say which is superior; although in retrospect I enjoyed both but preferred the bittersweet nature of the 75% bar. Regardless to which tableta you choose, be prepared to be surprised by their superlative chocolate making skills.
January can be a rainy time in San Sebastian; I can say this with authority since this is my third one here in a row! In addition, I find many tourists come during the warmer weather, but no matter what time of year you are here, there are many gastronomic adventures to be had. Therefore, the next time you are in this picturesque town, make sure to stop in at Mendaro’s: It is blind food critic approved!