Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Lifestyle Issue: March 2016
It’s getting a bit Wonka in the Valley. Two decades ago, Glendale’s Cerreta Candy Co. was the local chocolate game in town, supplying candies and caramels to grocery stores and children on field trips at its chocolate factory. Now we’re in the midst of a chocolate boom, with artisanal chocolate enjoying the same renaissance local wine, craft beer and coffee have experienced in recent years. Consumers are paying more attention to sourcing, and chocolate-makers and chocolatiers are espousing single-origin, fair-trade and even “bean to bar” chocolate they make themselves from direct-import cacao beans.
“We pay a lot more for the beans, but there are fine flavors and there’s a relationship and sustainability factor,” says Jim Elitzak, co-owner with wife Maureen of Zak’s Chocolate in Scottsdale. The Elitzaks, former accountants, opened their shop after Maureen’s chocolate hobby spiraled into a business. “As I got more into chocolate, I was seeking better-tasting chocolate,” she says. At Zak’s, they make the chocolate that Maureen transforms into truffles, turtles, peanut butter cups and bars. “We really want people to experience both” the chocolate-making and confectionery sides, Jim says.
Enjoy a one-hour factory tour and single-origin chocolate tasting for $10, or learn how to make chocolate yourself with a three-hour chocolate-making class ($75 per person), which includes a factory tour and chocolate to take home. Insatiable? Try the single-origin brownie flight ($6 for three minis).
6990 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-607-6581, zakschocolate.com
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