Behind-the-Scenes Chocolate Making at XOCO
With all of the farm-to-table, garden-to-glass hoopla, only one restaurant in Chicago makes its own chocolate in-house with imported cocoa beans. That restaurant is XOCO, the fast-casual member of the Rick Bayless empire, and it has been doing so for the past four years. The restaurant imports cocoa beans from Mexico to make authentic Oaxacan chocolate. This chocolate is not like the stuff you find in candy stores; it is rich, much less sweet, slightly spicy with strong cinnamon notes and has an almost gritty texture that still melts in your mouth. The chocolate plays a starring role in the restaurant's drinking-chocolate program, but is also used in other sweet delicacies. We stepped into the basement kitchen - where all the magic happens - to get a behind-the-scenes look at the detailed process.