In honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to tell you all the ways I adore my little chocolate shop, Arrowhead Chocolates. Notice I say “my,” and it’s precisely for that reason that this chocolatier/cafe is an amazing success story here in the hinterlands of the food world. Because genuine caring is at the heart of what they do, and they make everyone who enters feel special.
And it’s why, last month, this teensy, artisanal family-run business won a Good Food Award–a really big deal, but more on that in a moment.
I Heart Arrowhead Chocolates because:
- Bruce and Erica made their first chocolates in an unused cabin on their ranch and brought samples to every community event for market research and taste testing.
- The whole family compliments one another’s skills: Erica’s graphic design, her husband Tyler’s building skills, Wendy’s business acumen and Bruce’s experimental nature.
- Bruce brings his scientific background as a fish biologist, conceiving of new truffle flavors, like single malt whiskey that hits you in just the right way, a true lemon and crazy habanero lime.
- Rave reviews are not enough for them, a sure-fire hint of their high standards in everything they do, from homemade chai to handmade wood chocolate boxes.
Which brings us to Arrowhead’s winning a Good Food Award in the confections category for their huckleberry truffle.(It’s a beauty!) It speaks volumes of everything they are about: sourcing fair trade chocolate, using local ingredients and aiming for excellence with compassion. We, their customers, feel so proud, which is kinda weird because we didn’t do anything and wonderful because we get to share in their joy.
Within the artsy shop, the enrobing machine spills dark chocolate onto dozens of candy varieties. But, their cocao nib bars were my love at first bite and remain my true favorite. Thin dark chocolate bark studded with tiny bits of pure unsweeetened cocao–or raw chocolate. It pleases my craving for sweets and my penchant for bitter flavors, like having a good cup of coffee with a chocolate dessert.
For my Valentines, I’m tucking cocao nibs* into cocoa-flavored waffle batter**, topping it with raspberry whipped cream and a gift of cocao nib bark as a prize on the top. I haven’t yet decided if it will be for breakfast, dessert, or both.
*Cocao nibs are widely available for purchase and have many uses. Here are 10 more breakfast ideas.
**Just add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder per cup of flour to your favorite waffle recipe, adding chopped chocolate bark into the batter before cooking on a standard waffle iron.