The Astronomer and I arrived at Cacao Sampaka planning to grab something quick and sweet for the merienda and then continue on with the rest of our day. Instead, we stayed for two hours luxuriating over divine chocolates and shopping for edible presents for our friends and families back home. We couldn’t pull ourselves away from this extraordinarily special shop.
Owned by Albert Adrià, former El Bulli pastry chef and brother of Ferran, Cacao Sampaka offers a full-on haute chocolate experience. One part cafe and another market, the store is a delight for the senses. I loved how unusual flavors like anchovy and hazelnut, black olive, and Modena vinegar shared shelf space with more traditional milk and dark chocolates. I also loved how white chocolate, which is oftentimes disregarded by cacao connoisseurs, was given the gourmet treatment.
Since it’s not wise to shop on an empty stomach, The Astronomer and I grabbed a table at the cafe. We began with two chocolates each—I chose the Parmasean cheese and black forest truffle varieties, while he went with thyme and cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Each piece of chocolate was boldly and distinctly flavored; there was no question that the quality was impeccable and the ingredients were top-notch.
My black forest truffle, which came from the “Gastronomic Innovations” collection, worked surprisingly well. The deep, earthy flavor of the truffle melded ideally with the dark chocolate. However, the same could not be said about the Parmesan cheese creation. It was weird, and not in a good way. The Astronomer didn’t endure any flops; both chocolates were exactly to his liking.
Next, we shared a thick mug of hot chocolate made with 58% cacao. Unfortunately, churros were only available during the morning hours, so we drank this one straight up.
We walked out of the store with a huge shopping bag filled with gifts for loved ones. For my friend Luscious, the “Single Bean Origins” collection—her palate is exquisite and I knew she would appreciate the subtle differences between each monovarietal truffled chocolate. For my brother and his fiancée, the “Gastronomic Innovations” collection—they appreciate wild flavor combinations as much as I do. For The Astronomer’s parents, the “Herbs and Flowers” collection—perfect for gardeners who like to drink tea. And for me, two white chocolate tablets in mint and cinnamon. Please don’t judge me.
Calle de Orellana, 4
28004 Madrid, España
Phone: 913 195 840
Locations throughout Spain (Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Málaga, Valencia) and abroad (Al-Khobar, Dubai, Lisbon, Oeiras, Tokyo).