Just about everyone loves chocolate.
In fact, research says that 90 percent of people like chocolate, it’s the favorite flavor of most Americans and half the population says they can’t live without having chocolate every day. As if those aren’t enough accolades for chocolate, the average American eats 12 pounds of it every year.
If you’re one of the many people who simply can’t get enough chocolate, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up three places in central Ohio that specialize in delectable, mouth-watering chocolates that not only taste great, but look amazing, too.
Photo courtesy of MMELO
MMELO is known for its healthy, organic, natural treats – but if you take one bite, you’ll realize that definitely doesn’t mean the company skimps on flavor.
From vibrant chocolate bars to colorful hearts, there’s not much MMELO can’t create. But owner Michelle Allen says the most popular item is the tea cake, a spectacularly-colored “two-bite” chocolate with caramel or ganache in the center.
“I can’t take credit for the process. I was blessed with fine mentors and teachers who exposed me to some age-old techniques and told me to run with them,” Allen says. “Today, my team and I work very hard to offer well-crafted chocolates that are full of flavor and totally satisfying, both to look at and to eat.”
Allen believes it’s MMELO’s impressive chocolates and relaxed atmosphere that bring people back again and again. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the earthy, modern space offers a great place to meet friends.
“In my old neighborhood in Barcelona, there were several confectionery cafes. My friends and I would meet there to enjoy beautifully-crafted pastries,” she says. “My hope is to bring that experience to Columbus. We really want to give all of our customers great chocolates that surprise and delight every time.”
Mozart’s Bakery and Piano Café
Photo courtesy of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe
In 1995, Mozart’s owner Anand Saha came from Austria to Columbus with a dream of opening his own pastry shop. Mozart’s is the realization of that dream.
For the past 22 years, Anand and his wife, Executive Pastry Chef and Mozart’s co-owner Doris Saha, have worked to bring the flavors and ambiance of Austria to Columbus.
Mozart’s prides itself on using only the finest quality chocolates in its pastries, including Valrhona chocolate imported from France. One of the most popular items is the Sacher Torte, a chocolate cake filled with apricot preserves and enrobed in chocolate fondant. Another favorite is the Chocolate Truffle Torte, a moist chocolate cake layered with sliced almonds and a rich rum-infused chocolate ganache frosting.
Saha says he and his wife are inspired every day to create both traditional confections and to experiment with new, creative ways to use traditional ingredients.
“When working with chocolate, there’s so much room for creativity,” Saha says. “The possibilities are nearly endless.”
Pure Imagination Chocolatier
After training himself in the art of chocolate-making for eight years, owner Daniel Cooper opened Pure Imagination Chocolatier in 2001, quickly becoming one of the first artisan chocolatiers in Columbus.
Since then, it’s been a roaring success.
One reason so many people flock to Pure Imagination Chocolatier is because the chocolate shop – which started at the North Market and is now based in Grandview Heights – only uses couverture chocolate, a very high-quality chocolate imported from Switzerland. Another reason people come back again and again? The truffles.
“Truffles are the diamonds of the chocolate world because of how precious they are and how much love and work goes into creating them,” Cooper says.
First, Cooper and his team create the flavor. Then they give each truffle its own design and personality to separate it from the others.
All the love poured into each chocolate from Pure Imagination has not only caught the attention of people all over Columbus, but people all over the country, too. In fact, Pure Imagination was asked to provide chocolates for the Oscars from 2004-07. And while Cooper greatly appreciates this compliment, there’s nothing he enjoys more than the loyalty of his customers.
“The best part of working in the chocolate industry is meeting all of the wonderful people and putting smiles on their faces,” Cooper says. “It’s very, very rewarding.”
Ann Poirier is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.
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