Ever since Salt & Straw opened in LA I’ve been addicted. Despite the horrendous parking in Larchmont Village I still manage to stop by every time I’m in the area. One day, while waiting in line for my ice cream I noticed a certain chocolate bar for sale. It was called California Love and the package was covered with palm trees. It was made by a company called Compartes and was dark chocolate pretzel flavored. Yum. But, I was there for ice cream and didn’t buy it.
Soon, I began seeing Compartes chocolate bars all over LA and grew more and more intrigued. Then one day I received an email from the brand inviting me to visit their Brentwood store. Yes, please!
This week found me standing in the Compartes shop on Barrington Avenue in Brentwood. This is where it all began 65 years ago. I was actually shocked to discover it was an established brand. Based on the packaging I assumed it was brand new. Nope. It’s that’s been long favored by those in the know. Even my beloved Frankie was an early customer.
Today the company is owned by Jonathan Grahm who grew up visiting his grandparent’s shop. He continues their tradition of high quality chocolate while infusing it with modern sensibilities. Still available are the classic dipped chocolates but the focus has shifted to innovative flavor combinations in it’s truffles and chocolate bars.
Speaking of chocolate bars…
They come in a wide variety of flavors ranging from the traditional (dark chocolate and almonds) to the outlandish (white chocolate, olive and rosemary???). All bars are handmade right in the shop using only the best ingredients. In fact, on my visit I witnessed a chocolatier preparing some bars.
Well, she WAS there.
Of course, I had to try some. In the shop I sampled the Apple Pie bar.
White chocolate with bits of pie crust and streussel and 7 different varieties of apples. 7! Now, I’m ordinarily not a white chocolate fan but…wow. Just wow. It was rich and creamy and tasted just like homemade apple pie. I also was given a couple bars for the road – Istanbul and Cereal Bowl. Istanbul is the latest flavor and it combines dark chocolate, hazelnuts and raisins. It was intensely rich and flavorful. Cereal Bowl combines white chocolate with a variety of breakfast cereals and marshmallows. Taking a bite felt like stepping back in time to my childhood. Both bars were fantastically delicious.
While the chocolate bars are the dominating feature of the store, Compartes also specializes in beautifully printed truffles that come in a wide variety of flavors.
While in the store I sampled the salted caramel and was given some hazelnut nougat to take home. Talk about decadent! When taking a bite, the intense dark chocolate exterior melts away to reveal a silky flavorful interior. So intense I could only manage one at a time.
My visit to Compartes was wonderful. Jonathan has managed to transform a classic chocolate company into something modern and cutting edge while maintaining a tradition of handmade, high quality ingredients. Compartes is truly something special. I have a feeling next time I’m at Salt & Straw I’ll be grabbing a chocolate bar
instead in addition to my ice cream.