Virtuoso Life - January/February 2018 - 41
Lisbon sweetens its allure with a budding chocolate scene.
For centuries, the Portuguese ruled two of the most important cacao-producing lands in the world: Brazil and the tiny
nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, off Africa's western coast. And while Portuguese colonists pioneered the commercial
production of the notoriously fickle crop, the country never became known for its chocolate. That's beginning to change.
In Lisbon's central Bairro Alto, the historic quarter that's now one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, a handful of shops
offer sublime, small-batch chocolate - a welcome reward for a day spent walking Lisbon's hills. Here are four to seek out.
Each morning in the basement beneath their tiny, two-table café,
Bettina and Niccolò Corallo craft some of the world's purest chocolate - no
milk, no vanilla - using techniques honed on the family's cacao farm in São
Tomé and Príncipe. Along with a range of bean-to-bar chocolate (including
the divine 70 percent cacao with salt flakes and the 80 percent cacao with
sugar crystals), they offer 100 percent cacao sorbet and hot chocolate, and
heavenly brownies. Rua da Escola Politécnica 4.
Landeau Chocolate sells only one food, but founder Sofia Landeau has
perfected it: a triple-layer chocolate cake. It sounds simple - a fluffy, dark
chocolate cake base with a layer of dark chocolate mousse blanketed in
cacao powder. But what elevates Landeau's dessert are her connections to
the finest cacao sources in the world and her knowledge of the best way to
blend each origin's distinctive flavors. Rua das Flores 70, Lisbon; landeau.pt.
At Denegro, just outside Bairro Alto in Rato, head chocolatier Cristina
Poças handcrafts small-batch wonders in a studio that maintains an opendoor policy, welcoming visitors to see her process, which blends creativity and
tradition. Nearly a decade old, the shop was the first in Lisbon to dedicate itself
purely to handmade chocolate. Ask about its seasonally flavored bonbons, and
for enthusiasts, about its chocolate workshops. Rua de São Bento 333; denegro.pt.
Head to the cavernous Lisbon outpost of Porto-based Chocolataria
Equador for a wide selection of chocolates, bonbons, and truffles in eyecatching wrappers designed in-house. Standouts include dark chocolate
bars with port, ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur), and local sea salt, all of which
make perfect gifts. Rua da Misericórdia 72; chocolatariaequador.com.
Clockwise from top: Landeau's chocolate cake and Chocolataria Equador's
gift set and display counter.
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