I am sitting here in Paris, three days after my trip to Lisbon’s only gourmet chocolatier, enjoying a block of 70% dark chocolate with raisins and a unique and potent liquor extracted from the pulp of the recently harvested cocoa fruit. It’s heady and delicious.
It was on my recent trip to Portugal’s capital that I was fortunate enough to have a friend with a Frommer’s Guide. Inside, it shared a little-known address on a not-so-well-known street: that for Claudio Corallo on Rua Cecilio da Sousa.
I knew my chocolate block was going to be a winner since the moment we rushed into the small boutique, we were warmly greeted and eagerly treated to a chocolate tasting.
We sampled the 70%, 80% and 100% chocolates, a tasting that ranged from semi-sweet to acidic. Some of the bars had ginger or orange pieces, adding a touch of lovely sweetness.
And some of the pristine chocolates are made into more whimsical bonbons, like these lovelies made with pine nuts.
Claudio Corallo is not for everyone. With a devotion to pure cacao that's cultivated on the tiny African archipelago of São Tomé, the beans are meticulously sourced and produced into dark chocolate without any sugar or vanilla. It’s hardcore chocolate.
But how wonderful (and, to me, delicious) to discover an Italian man, living in Africa, producing chocolate in Iceland and offering it at a hole-in-the-wall in Lisbon.
Sometimes when you’re crazy for chocolate, you really will go to the ends of earth for it.