Cacao & Cardamom opened their second location in Montrose last week, and it already has a celebrity endorsement. Apparently, according to the Chronicle, actor and director Ethan Hawke was in town and had a moment with a bon bon.
Well, we get it, especially after tasting the luxury chocolatier's Houston collection, launched to celebrate the new locale and created with ingredients from local producers. Walk in, order a few of the seven varieties in the series, and have your moment.
Of the seven, our favorite is probably Fig & Malbec, in which a 2012 Malbec Reserve from Nice Winery is used in a dark chocolate ganache. Topped with cinnamon and fig jam, the bon bon combines sweetness, richness, and an earthy bite. Coming in second is the Old Fashioned (hey, the alcoholic bon bons are great), which incorporates whiskey from Yellow Rose Distillery. It's heavy on orange in pate de fui form, but the whiskey slides through in the end and leaves you wanting another. It's really close to having that perfect cocktail flavor, though a little tweaking may be in the cards.
"You can't just do an alcoholic pate de fui, and we didn't have orange puree so we used blood orange," said Annie Rupani, founder and head chocolatier of Cacao & Cardamom. "But we're redoing it. It's a really small batch."
That's part of the fun of these bon bons. Rupani is constantly altering recipes, especially after receiving feedback from customers. If one element is too strong, or if texture doesn't quite work, she'll take note and experiment onward.
Other varieties in the Houston collection include Black Currant and Cassis, made with a dark Xocolla chocolate; Cold Brew Coffee Crunch, a bean-forward bite with crunch, made with coffee from Java Pure Coffee Roasters; Double Goat, a cajeta caramel that beautifully packs Pure Luck chevre from Houston Dairymaids; HIVE Honey & Thyme, which is a nice balance between HIVE Bee Farm honey and milk chocolate, freshened just a touch with thyme; and Olive & Oregano, which is probably the bon bon that needs the most tweaking, as it has a strong oregano presence that detracts from any savory notes you might get from Breadman Baking Company crumbs.
The Houston line—as well as a five-foot golden chocolate fountain—is only available at the Montrose location, which also keeps in stock Cacao & Cardamom favorites like Mango Caramel and S'mores. And as folks who've visited the store's first location at Post Oak Centre know, these are joyful chocolates colorfully designed and shaped, thanks to molds imported primarily from Italy.
Considering the sourcing and constant recipe alterations, there's always something new to discover here. Especially if the bon bon has some alcohol inside of it. Now go and make some moments.