Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 60: I'm A Chocoholic

My name is Brian Maury and I’m a chocoholic.  Seriously, I’m eating a Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds as I write this (with a glass of milk of course!).  I love chocolate so it’s no surprise that a store, dedicated to the fine art of making chocolate, caught my attention on Bethesda Lane.  Cacao Fine European Chocolates and Pastries was founded by Frenchman Jacques Poulain, a former Executive Pastry chef with the Ritz-Carlton where his last assignment was making sinful delights for the four-star guests on the island of Maui.   Well of course Maui is no match for Bethesda and that’s why he left all that perfect weather, palm trees, tropical breezes and beautifully tanned bodies to come here to open his latest store.

The store’s name Cacao is derived from the name of the plant Theobroma Cacao, a small evergreen tree native to the Andes in South America.  Theobroma is derived from the Greek phrase “food of the Gods” and nothing more aptly describes a tree whose seeds are used to produce Cocoa and Chocolate.  Poulain chose the name to remind us that quality chocolate always begins at the source with the quality of the ingredients used to produce it.

Located at 7129 Bethesda Lane the store is small on space but big on great tasting chocolate!  The store features hand-made European chocolates, truffles, Parisian macaroons, chocolate bars, deserts, cakes and pastries.  There are even some treats for breakfast including brioche, Danish, and muffins.  I’ve visited the store today (for research purposes of course) and sampled the chocolate chip cookies.  They are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.  They were the perfect combination of chewy and soft while maintaining a firm exterior crust without being crunchy.  Wow!  The store is open 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays and until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for all your late night cravings.

Chocolate Heaven

When Amy and I visit stores or businesses we like to ask the staff or owner, “what makes your establishment unique?”  It helps us distill the essence of the business down to one main idea.  Today I posed the question to Cruz, a young vibrant girl with classic Latin American good looks, working behind the counter.  Her answer surprised me.  She said the best part of working for Cacao was the way the owner and her manager treat her.  “They don’t treat me like I’m just an employee,” she replied seriously.  “They treat me like a friend.”  Cacao is a real delight to experience,  not only as a customer savoring fine chocolate in front of the counter, but also from the perspective of an employee who works behind the counter as well. ~Brian

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