Chocolate Trends 2009

First, congratulations to Kakao Confetioneer Teresa and her husband Rex on the birth of their baby boy on Tuesday morning. Hooray!

The rest of us at Kakao have been busy, too, getting the shop ready. We’ve got a few new chairs in the cafe (and more on the way) from IKEA (our fave!). Also on its way is our new counter, followed closely by a display case for our chocolates and pastries.

Lots of chocolate and treats on the way, too. The weather here in St. Louis has been beastly hot, but we’ve got the perfect foil for the heat — frozen fruit bars! All-natural, of course, and made with real fruit — strawberry-lemonade and blueberry-mango-passion fruit. We’ll have them at the shop on Friday afternoon (noon to 6:30) and (if there are any left) at the Tower Grove Market (8:30 to 12:30) and the shop (9:00 to 4:00) on Saturday.

Yes, right now we’re open just on Fridays and Saturday — but also by appointment! We’re here pretty much every day, so you can just drop by and ring the bell, but to make sure you can call 314.489.5617 and let us know when you’ll be here, just so we can make sure we’re not out making a delivery or something.

So, chocolate trends. I got to attend a chocolate conference with Retail Confectioners International and, among other things, picked up on the Top 10 Trends in Chocolate. I was pleased to see that Kakao is on the cutting edge!

1. Chocolate With a Purpose. Not just chocolate that’s tasty, but treats that are also good for the planet — natural, sustainable, organic. Fits perfectly with our all-natural imperative.

2. Bean to Bar. There are about 20 individuals in the U.S. who take cacao beans and turn them into delicious chocolates, and two of them do it in Missouri! We’re proud to work with Alan McClure’s Patric chocolate in our truffles. (Speaking of which, I need to make some more of those soon…0

3. Hot Chocolate. Well, not in the summertime, but it’s definitely still hot! Kakao has been offering our special mixes of both traditional and Mexican hot chocolate, and we’re excited about being able to offer hot chocolate in a glass in our cafe starting this fall.

4. Salt Caramels. Gee, who woulda thunk?

5. Comforting Classics. This was really about bigger and smaller versions of traditional convenience store candy bars, but we get a lot of comments about our marshmallow pies as quite the comfort food, so we think we have this covered. But speaking of…

6. Big Fat Marshmallows. “Grown ups want to be kids,” and what better way to do that than with a gooey Kakao Marshmallow Pie? Seriously, these things make grown men giggle.

7. Healthy Chocolate. Yes, it’s true: chocolate has more antioxidants than anything that grows on the planet. And Kakao is working on some new chocolate blends and barks that will be even healthier with nuts and dried berries and other good-for-you bits.

8. Make it Fresh. Um, well, certainly. The big candy companies are DONE making chocolate for Christmas right now. Can you believe it? They’re working on Valentine’s Day 2010! We won’t start making Christmas chocolate until early December, so, yes, it will be fresh.

9. Super High Cacao. People are starting to get into chocolate with upwards of 80% cocoa, both for the health benefits (less sugar) and the taste (extremely bitter). So far we haven’t done anything above 72% — should we?

10. Value. We really work hard at this. Everything we do is handmade, right here in our shop, with all-natural ingredients. We use organic when it makes sense, and local whenever we can. That’s the value we put into our chocolates, confections and pastries, and we hope that works for you, too. 

See you soon!

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