During February it's hard not to notice the food of the month. It's chocolate, of course, and if you are not a chocoholic you may find the craving difficult to understand. After all, you reason, vanilla is still the most highly esteemed and desired flavor of ice cream, right? But some people can't get enough of the richer stuff. Chocolate is endearing and addicting, a yin-yang food. Here are some places for a chocolate fix around town:
CHEF-OWNER BRUCE MOFFIT has had his hot molten chocolate cake with house-made vanilla bean ice cream on the menu since day one -- and that was a while back. This divinely decadent dessert is still his number one top seller.
Barrington's Restaurant, 7822 Fairview Road in the Foxcroft Shopping Center.
A CLASSIC CHOCOLATE DESSERT with a Latin flair is the Ponque de chocolat at Latorre's. This is a chocolate cake served with a banana salsa mixed with dark Myers Rum and coconut flavored ice cream that is rolled in toasted coconut.
Latorre's Latin Inspired Cuisine, 118 West Trade St., 704-377-4448
BUT CHOCOLATE is not just for desserts. Originally, chocolate was used by the Aztec for flavoring. One of the most densely flavored mole sauces (a Mexican sauce) in town is at Señor Tequila Cantina Grill. Their Pollo con Mole is made of tender chicken breasts steeped in a smoky, very luxurious poblano sauce with a touch of dark chocolate. The Mexican chocolate adds to the rich flavor and is not overtly sweet.
Señor Tequila Cantina Grill, 6414 Rea Road in the Shops at Piper Glen, 704-543-0706.
IF YOU ARRIVE AT NOVA'S BAKERY in Plaza Midwood just as their Pain du Chocolate comes out of the oven, do not hesitate to buy a bunch and spread them around at the office. Before the chocolate has a chance to solidify, the buttery pastry simply oozes indulgent chocolate out onto your tongue.
Nova's Bakery, 1511 Central Ave., 704-333-5566.
CHOCOLATE DRINKS have gone full cycle. The original chocolate drinks were reserved for the Aztec Royalty. By the 20th century in America, chocolate drinks were exclusively within the realm of children -- and marshmallows were often players. Last year Starbucks added the ill-fated Chantico (named for the Aztec goddess of the hearth). It lasted a year. Soon, however, Starbucks will lunch new chocolate drinks. Godiva, however, knows a thing or two about chocolate and now offers the Chocolixir, a cold chocolate drink, in three flavors: Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Latte and White Chocolate Raspberry.
Godiva Boutique, SouthPark Mall, Northlake Mall and Carolina Place Mall.
NEW CHOCOLATE DRINKS are not just sweet. Bars are heating up with innovative cocktails, and with the advent of high-end chocolate liquor and chocolate vodka; adults are back to the chocolate trough once again. One such liquid truffle is Cake di Chocolate with Stoli Vanilla, Godiva and Frangelico, found at the bar in Blue.
Blue Restaurant & Bar, College & 5th streets, 704-927-2583