Monday, May 16, 2011
Zoe's Chocolate: Sweet Treats in Frederick
Ever since my return from Europe nearly a year ago I've had trouble adjusting back to a certain popular corporate American chocolate, the name of which I won't mention but assume you know. By European standards, this famous chocolate feels and tastes rather like wax in my mouth. So when I recently discovered Zoe's Chocolate Co. on Market St., I had to check it out in hopes of escaping the more standard options.
I knew I was in the right place as soon as I walked into the bright pink store front. They have rows and rows of different types of chocolate bars on all sides and a glass counter full of little chocolates for gift boxes. I was hit with a wave of chocolate flavor on the very air. I bought a bar of their hazelnut dark chocolate and could tell that it was good just by looking. It was divided into eight thick, dark squares and it smelled amazing as soon as I removed the wrapper. At first taste I immediately knew there was a quality here that couldn't be matched by you-know-who's chocolate. It was rich, strong and smooth. I could tell that it was made with much more actual cocoa and few unnatural preservatives than that which shall not be named. I no longer feel the need to get on an airplane to enjoy delicious chocolate.
Zoe Tsoukatos, who has run the shop with her family since 2007, said their chocolate is so good because they are third-generation Greek chocolatiers. Their family started the business in Baltimore in 1902 and has carefully passed down the family secrets ever since.
But according to Zoe, the goal of this new shop is to marry tradition to modernity.
"We took a lot of the old-world recipes and we tweaked it to today's pallets," she said. "'Time honored tradition meets modern sophistication' is like our slogan."
Their flavors include unique things like a Mediterranean line that mixes chocolate with things like baklava, tahini, pistachip, citrus, and orange blossom. She said that the caramel chocolates with sea salt are among her hottest selling items.
"We try to step outside the box, play with the consistencies, so it's a little bit different than what everybody else does, but yet we still play to the classic American pallet where you have like apple pie, pear and peanut-butter and jelly," she said. "We try to mix both worlds from our heritage and the American culture as well."
I also like the freshness of their chocolate. It's actually brought into the store on a daily basis from Waynesboro, PA on the same day it's made. Zoe said they strive to use local flavoring ingredients whenever possible. But even when they don't, the ingredients that they do use are really cool, like genuine Italian butter.
I'm sold. I'm definitely coming back to Zoe next Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, and whenever I just need to remember what real chocolate tastes like.
121 North Market Street
Frederick, MD 21701-5421