The Xocolate Bar is a true gem located on a quiet part of Solano Avenue. The owners, Malena and Clive, are worldly artists who began making chocolates five years ago. They embrace the concept of edible art by creating inspired, unique chocolates. The shop has only been around for a little over two years, but there are already many fans who adore the chocolates.
The chocolate confections are all made in small batches at the shop’s modestly-sized kitchen. The slow melting of chocolate adorns the entire shop with the deep, rich aroma of chocolate. Malena and Clive have created over one hundred chocolate treats and continue to invent new flavors.
All of the chocolates are artistically made, and inspired by world travels, art, eating, films, seasons, and more. Among the most popular are the aphrodisiac Make-Out truffle which is a dark chocolate with chai spices, chili, and maca shaped as a heart. Another favorite is the exotic Buddha truffle, also a dark chocolate, with tamarind and mango and shaped into a tiny golden Buddha. People come to the shop to indulge in truly one of a kind artisanal chocolates, from sight to taste.
Some other truffles found only at The Xocolate Bar are the salted chile, kalamata olive & salted caramel, Chinese five spice, rosemary, and cherry hibiscus. Many of the truffles are vegan, which is quite unprecedented in the world of chocolate. Malena believes dairy is not always necessary for creating a decadent truffle. In fact, sometimes the flavors are more pronounced without milk or cream. At The Xocolate Bar, even vegans have a lot to choose from.
According to Malena and Clive, the ingredients that go into the chocolates are almost all organic and often times locally sourced. For example, the Rangpur lime used in one of the truffles are from a neighbor’s backyard and the figs in the fig bar are from the backyard of Malena’s friend.
Being a small independent business managed by real people, The Xocolate Bar not only makes exceptional products, but also makes sure to reduce its carbon footprint. Malena and Clive make sure that production at the shop is low waste and energy efficient. Recyclable and compostable packaging is used whenever possible. Most importantly, they support local, organic agriculture.
As an employee of The Xocolate Bar, I love seeing people light up when they see the shelves and cases full of amazing chocolate creations. Customers also like to gaze at the Frida Kahlo paintings, jewelry made by Malena and Clive, or the huge chocolate Mayan calendar. The shop offers a stimulating experience that can not be found at corporate-owned chain stores.
The Xocolate Bar is a local, independently-owned business that deserves support and recognition from the community. Restaurants, cafes, and specialty food stores that use seasonal, local ingredients and practice sustainability are doing their part in changing the way we eat and think of food. By going to these places, we are supporting real people who are passionate about food. Not only are we benefitting the environment, local economy, and our health, but we are able to find the best food the area offers.
As Malena says, small businesses are “the good underdogs who contribute to a brighter future.”
Cindy Chen is a junior transfer student at UC Berkeley, majoring in Conservation and Resource Studies. She is employed at The Xocolate Bar and enjoys eating local food.