Cocoa + Co. Chocolate Review – A True Chocolate Exploration

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For the true chocoholic, come head on over to Cocoa + Co., where every chocolate and sweet dream will come true. There has never been a more thrilling time to be an adventurous chocolate lover. The last decade has seen an explosion of pastry chefs and chocolatiers from Barcelona to Boston. They are experimenting with technique and flavor, finding the best ingredients and forging partnerships with local growers. They are constantly challenging convention and constraints, and the results are ever changing, exciting, and always delectable.


Cocoa + Co. showcases its chocolates and sweets beautifully throughout the store.


Cocoa + Co., located in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, is a celebration of talented artisans, seeking out the most exceptional products, selecting their best work and bringing their stories to you. The company’s mission is to curate a journey of discovery that is nuanced, beguiling and infinitely delicious.


Born of a life-long obsession with all things chocolate, Cocoa + Co. is a dream that’s taken more than ten years to become reality. While working with winemakers like Michel Chapoutier and Angelo Gaja, owner Kim Hack, learned the importance of place, varietal and craftsmanship and recognized the correlation with chocolate. She began to long for a gathering place where chocolate lovers could fuel their passion through exploration, tasting and interaction in the same way wine lovers do at neighborhood merchants and cafes.


What an honor to meet Kim Hack, the mastermind behind Cocoa + Co!


Beautiful displays!


Cocoa + Co. also offers chocolate tastings and classes onsite. My friends and I were lucky enough to snag a private tasting, which was definitely an experience! Being the biggest chocoholic I know, this place was pure Heaven for me. First, when you walk into the store, you are greeted with wall-to-wall rare and unusual chocolates and sweets you cannot find anywhere else. The décor and packing is beautifully and brightly colored – a true feast for the eyes. There are also the display cases at the counter and cafe, which feature pastries such as cakes, cookies, brownies, drinking chocolates, as well as culinary coffee and tea to order.


Chocolate bar wall displays.


My friends trying hard to pick out which bars to buy.


For our private chocolate tasting, Kim sat us down in a back room with a table. First, she gave us a brief history of chocolate including the cocoa tree, information about single origin cocoa beans, its origin, the process to make chocolate, and finally, how chocolate is connected to health. I have always found single origin beans very interesting, as each bean is different depending on region it comes from. Contributing factors can include soil, climate, and other factors. I also learned for the first time the difference between a confectioner and a chocolatier.


Our drinking chocolate and bar tasting samples.


The actual chocolate that my group and I sampled was sinful and pure chocolately bliss. We tasted the following bars: dark chocolate topped with strawberries, rose petals and pink peppercorns, a lovely French chocolate company called Francois Pralus – Haitre Chocolatier that specializes in single origin dark chocolate (Sao Tome and Principe Porastero, Madagascar Criollo, and Indonesie Criollo – all 75%). Each bar was a completely different experience and taste sensation on my tongue. Depending on where the cocoa bean came from, one was fruity, one was more coffee-like, and so on. Another out of this world bar was a dark chocolate with black mission figs-absolutely amazing to taste, smell and experience with all the senses. Finally, there was the drinking chocolate. It was spiced with Mayan chiles and cinnamon – not super spicy but delcious with a “kick” to it. The melted chocolate was smooth, hot and creamy.

Dark chocolate bars that we sampled-each delicious and unique from different parts of the world!


Mouthwatering sweets available for purchase at the cafe.


After the tasting ended, my group and I had a tour of the other bars available for purchase, which Kim introduced to us. To be honest, I was my usual indecisive self when it comes to good chocolate to choose from. This is my never-ending weakness when everything looks good: how do you choose?


The drinking chocolate was popular…can’t you tell?!



Photos: Jennifer Lunz


For more information on Cocoa + Co.’s products and services, please call 312.624.8540 or visit the website.

1651 North Wells St 


Chicago, IL 60614


Located in Old Town between North and Eugenie




Monday through Saturday from 7am – 7pm

Sundays from 8am – 5pm



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