It's pronounced ‘spang-vola’
Who would have thought that one of National Geographic's 10 BEST Chocolatier's in the World is located right here in the Kentlands!
Although we're still fairly new to the Kentlands, one of the first places that caught my eye was the Spagnvola Chocolate Shop. And while I am not the world's biggest chocolate fan, I can certainly enjoy a nice treat like the best of them. Its name and look definitely contributed, but what caught my eye was their claim to be one of the "best chocolate shops in the world."
They've got 3 locations, and are soon expecting to open a 4th, but their main factory and first entry in the market was right here in the Kentlands. Owned, managed, and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Eric and Crisoire Reid, who are still occasionally seen in-store, the chocolate is made from scratch. Literally, the ENTIRE process. The cocoa beans are grown on the pair’s farm in their homeland of the Dominican Republic, then shipped to the Kentlands location for roasting and refinement. This takes place in the basement set up below the shop, which is open for tours.
Regardless of where you fall of the "I am crazy about chocolate spectrum", their bonbons and truffles are arguably their main selling point. But their 70% and 80% chocolate bars are award winning, and rightfully so. The chocolate flavor is not masked by a lot of dairy or sugar that you would find in lower-percent chocolate bars, but even the 80% is not terribly dark. Both bring out fantastic hints of nut, with the darker bar bringing out elements like espresso. In fact, most of the Dominican Republic bars share this quality (from what I was told.)
The Dominica Bar is much more tame, and probably what you would expect from a chocolate bar. It isn't bad by any means, yet I have always found myself preferring their Domincan Republic type of bar. I am very excited about their Nigerian Bar coming soon, with beans imported from a different farm. The bonbons and truffles are also amazing. I had some of the fruit-inspired bonbons to start my sampling --- the passionfruit and strawberry ones were my favorite. The mango variety was a close second. But some might argue that it is a little too sweet.
The Vienna Cinnamon and Ginger Lemongrass truffles were incredible. Smooth, light, and refined, the aroma and the spices are easily absorbed on the tongue. The Rosemary Olive-Oil truffle was also a pretty remarkable experience as I hadn't even realized that such a pairing existed. Foolish me thinking that rosemary olive oil was just for cooking.
I visited on a cold day and am a sucker for hot-chocolate --- and as you can possibly imaging, great chocolate makes for a very good cup of hot cocoa! It might rank up there with one of the best hot liquids I've ever tasted.
Finally, the tours are highly recommended, so be sure to sign up for them on their website or in-store.
I cannot recommend this shop enough. Each of their chocolates tastes authentic and rich, yes completely different from everything else in the store. Drop by during their schedule below, and try for yourself!
Mon – Thurs: 11 am to 7 pm
Fri. – Sat.: 11 am to 9 pm
Sun.: 11 am to 7 pm