Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Oregon
Chocolate lovers in Oregon are so lucky. Just like brewers and chefs, chocolatiers across the state experiment and innovate with surprising ingredients — think nut milks, fungi, blazing-hot chiles and local spirits — and delicious combos. Although chocolate can be ordered online, consider stopping by one of these cocoa-scented wonderlands on your travels.
Vegan Bars in Salem
Salem’s Chomp! is a new vegan chocolate factory that makes milk chocolate without the milk. Instead, the company uses cashew milk to get the wonderfully creamy texture in its signature original chocolate bar. This vegan-milk chocolate serves as the base for the Popstar bar, filled with crunchy puffed rice, and the Nutpucks, their nondairy version of a peanut-butter cup. Chomp! is also all about acquiring its cacao beans directly from the source where possible and making its supply chain transparent by listing where its beans come from, including 2020 harvests from Uganda’s Semuliki Forest and the Cayapas River in Ecuador.
Drinking Chocolate in Cannon Beach
While there’s something satisfying about biting into a bar of silky chocolate, nothing hits the spot on a cold day like a steamy mug of hot chocolate. And there are plenty on the menu at Cannon Beach Chocolate Cafe. Opt for a brew made with 70% Colombian dark chocolate, mixed with the milk of your choice, or the Mayan-spice version spiked with cinnamon and ancho and chipotle chiles. Most decadent, perhaps, is the European spoon chocolate, thick enough to eat with a spoon. The shop also makes chocolate treats in-house, including truffles and animal-shaped critters, as well as carries a selection of chocolate bars from around the world.
Chocolate Bunnies in Central Point
Central Point in the Rogue Valley has made a name for itself with wine, cheese and chocolate. For the latter, Lillie Belle Farms should be on any visitor’s itinerary. The shop specializes in organic chocolate bars featuring savory combos like caramelized bacon and maple syrup, as well as spicy concoctions like their ancho chile-infused, chocolate-covered almonds. There are also lavender sea salt caramels and two chocolate options (yes, two) showcasing Rogue Creamery’s award-winning blue cheeses, which makes sense since Lillie Belle Farms shares a parking lot with the cheesemaker. Organic milk and dark COVID bunnies wearing little masks — which made national headlines last year — make a timely addition to any Easter basket.
Wine and Truffles in Eugene
Sure, anyone could pair chocolate and wine, but sweets like truffles made with Oregon wine have been charming visitors to Eugene’s Euphoria Chocolate Company for over 40 years. These truffles come in thoughtful flavor combinations like the creamy white chocolate paired with citrusy pinot gris, dark chocolate matched with peppery syrah and classic Oregon pinot noir enrobed in milk chocolate. Visitors can stop in at the factory store in West Eugene or buy Euphoria chocolates at Made in Oregon and grocery stores like Market of Choice.
Fungus Among Us in Portland
Born out of the pandemic, newcomer Vehicle Chocolates brings mushrooms with medicinal properties like lion’s mane, cordyceps, chaga and reishi to the world of chocolate. Containing no psilocybin, these organically sourced mushrooms have traditionally been used to support immune and heart health and improve energy and memory function. Now they can be consumed in a delicious delivery system. This means 66% dark organic chocolate flavored with bright mint, herbal turmeric, pepper or floral bee pollen. Curiosity-seekers can buy these fungi-filled chocolates at New Seasons or order them online directly from the source.