Cuisine Scene: All Things Chocolate
Few cities are as equipped to celebrate International Chocolate Day–Sept. 13–as Long Beach. Like so much of its dining scene, the International City offers a wide-open, inventive, sometimes surprising range of chocolate creations–sweet pastries to spicy drinks, dinner desserts to dinner itself–hailing from and created by those from all over the globe: France, Mexico, Vietnam, Philippines, Belgium, Italy, etc. reminding us that the world can be a very sweet place.
CHOCOLATE-WINE PAIRING: ROMEO CHOCOLATES
At this point, Romeo Chocolates isn’t so much a local chocolate shop as it is a treasured civic resource; the place where chocolate and art meet, deliciously. Chef Romeo Garcia’s tiny creations are masterpieces of flavor and construction. Since Romeo believes chocolate is more than something to pop in your mouth, he enhances the experience through things like chocolate making workshops for adults and kids in Bixby Knolls (345 E. Carson St.), as well as his popular chocolate and wine pairing parties, held semi-regularly–the next is Oct. 15 at 209 Temple Ave.
PAIN AU CHOCOLAT: DOLY’S DELECTABLES
CHOCOLATE CROISSANT: RENAUD’S BAKERY
Located inside Gelson’s Market, Renaud’s Bakery and Coffee Bar (6255 E. Second St.) produces such delicious bakery items SO faithful to its French heritage, that customers have been known to joke that just one bite will make you feel as though you’ve died and gone to … Paris. While Renaud offers all sorts of chocolate options–the Chocolate Decadent Cake complete with chocolate mousse and glaze is noteworthy–including this traditional chocolate croissant; a light pastry made of rolled dough and surrounding two melted 41% dark chocolate bars.
CHOCOLATE CAKE: BUONO’S PIZZERIA
MEXICAN MOCHA: VIENTO Y AGUA
This Belmont Heights favorite has the feel of your very cool, artistic friend's basement, with lots of comfortable nooks, furniture, art and conversation. Viento Y Agua’s (4007 E. Fourth St.) full menu of coffee drinks–as well as a curated selection of sandwiches and bagels–is anchored by the Mexican Mocha, which is offered hot, iced or blended. Combining a rich, but not overly sweet, chocolate base with espresso as well as cinnamon and spice, this mocha has a delicious, dusty flavor that almost demands to be sipped and savored.