Friday, December 10, 2010

Houston: Araya @ River Oaks Center

I was excited to visit Araya Artisan Chocolates in River Oaks Shopping Center next to the theater.

This center brings back huge memories. It was part of my old stomping grounds- actually came to this spot to a restaurant called Birraporetti's on my first "driving" date.  Same shopping center was the site where I bought my first alcoholic drink (when it was legal at 18) from a no name bar under a stair case. Actually, the bar was called Marfreless- couches, quiet, dark, fun- and it still is operating today??!!

This visit was all about getting to know a fairly new Venezuelan chocolate shop called Araya Artisan Chocolates. Upon arrival, I was lucky to immediately meet owner chocolatier Carla Susi.

Interesting tidbits of information about Araya: they don't use sugar, they use honey to naturally sweeten the ganache; they make Venezuelan 100% dark and a dark-milk chocolate; the store, the packaging, the chocolate and the people who work here are beautiful.

I sampled quite a few favorites from their collections. I really enjoyed from the milk chocolates- Venezuelan 41%, Hazelnut Praline, Hazelnut Truffle  and Keylime.  From the dark chocolate collection- Pink Salt, Strawberry Balsamic, Salty Caramel Rum, Peanut Butter & Berry and Chai Spice.

This is the real deal!   Fant├ístico!


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