BERKELEY, Calif. -- Casa de Chocolates welcomes visitors to a homey spot, bursting with rich history accompanied by the scent of freshly melted chocolate.
Upon entering, a display with cacao pods and a "metate" (stone tool) greets guests. A Mesoamerican invention, the metate was historically used to grind roasted cacao beans for chocolate making. The one in the shop belongs to the great grandmother of Casa de Chocolates owner Amelia Gonzalez-Garcia.
"What we wanted to do is remind people that cacao came from Mesoamerica," said Gonzalez-Garcia. "That was the message in our vision, in our inspiration, and in the design of the store and our chocolates."
With every artistically handcrafted bonbon and bar, she hopes to share the cultural history of chocolate through the taste buds of all who are interested in learning more.
"Research has taught us that the cacao bean originated in Latin America, we're talking about thousands of years ago," she added. "I find it fascinating to share with people the origins."
Casa de Chocolates creates artisanal chocolates with unique flavor profiles inspired by Latin American culture to honor the history and keep traditions alive.
The shop's popular bonbon flavors include chipotle caramel, Tapatío, tequila, and their award-winning mole.
"Being Latina myself, from Oaxaca, the mole, the tequila, a lot of things looked really familiar," said Casa de Chocolates General Manager Rosa Sanchez. "And, I felt like I was getting a little piece of home away from home."
2629 Ashby Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705