Yesterday, on my way home from the yarn shop, I stopped by The Chocolate Box for some goodies. Ever since Robert coerced me into joining him in his nightly chocolate ritual (and, believe me, he really had to twist my arm), I have been trying to raise the bar a bit by purchasing better quality chocolate than you get with, say, a Kit Kat or Whatchamacallit. I know…I’m a total snob. But, a handful of M&Ms every night is not good for you. A couple of pieces of quality dark chocolate, on the other hand, is practically a requirement for optimal health these days. The Chocolate Box, with its focus on high-end, fancy chocolates, is the perfect shop for this. They sell chocolates from many different producers, but the biggest presence in the shop is definitely the much-loved Theo Chocolates.

The Theo Chocolate factory is located in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle (in the old Redhook Brewery building.) It is known for being the only chocolate company in the United States that uses both organic and fair trade cacao beans. Locally-produced chocolates with a conscience – you can’t beat that! Theo produces three kinds of chocolates: individual Theo confections, Theo Origin bars, which highlight cacao beans from different parts of the world, and the wildly inventive 3400 Phinney bars featuring such flavors as Coconut-Curry and Bread and Chocolate (filled with salty bread crumbs!)

I’ve been meaning to try the 3400 bars for a while now but, on this day, I was in the mood to try a variety of flavors so I picked some individual confections. I couldn’t help but be wooed by the wackier flavors. Hey, when you are spending $2 a pop for these tiny morsels, it’s hard to justify ordering plain-old, unflavored chocolate (even if it is good chocolate.) I chose Fig & Fennel, Peanut Butter, Chipotle Spice and Cardamom Caramel. I also was given two free samples at the shop; one was a Neapolitan and the other was some flavor that I don’t know because, like a brute, I just wolfed it down without even listening to the guy. All of the chocolates were excellent. The Chipotle Spice was surprisingly spicy, and the Peanut Butter was filled with smooth peanut butter cream studded with crispy, salty peanut bits. My favorite was the Fig & Fennel which had a deep, rich fruit flavor. I think the label mentioned that it was made with Washington Merlot (wine and chocolate – what’s not to love?) It was boozy and delicious and definitely something I could make into a nightly habit.

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