Old world taste in new world capital


If you want a chocolate that tastes like real chocolate and nothing else, you have to make the trek to Krön Chocolatier in Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC. Ask for the Budapest cream truffles — they are kept in a freezer behind the counter. They are absolutely fresh, delicious and liable to be sold out. If you don’t want to risk disappointment, call ahead (202-966-4946) to reserve yours.

When you get there, don’t be put off by the decor. It doesn’t look like a place where you’d find high-end chocolate, but trust me. Walk in and ask for the Budapest truffles. (They’re called that because they are made from the original owner’s recipe from Budapest.)

Pure & simple

They are simple squares of chocolate, dusted with cocoa powder. No preservatives, which may be one reason the staff recommends eating them frozen, but wait 15 minutes or so. The chocolate smell is so strong and pure, it reminds you of what chocolate is supposed to be like. And when you eat them — absolutely smooth, dark chocolate, not too sweet. They are amazing.

I was told by Alex, the owner’s son, that the truffles are the most popular item in the store, winning best truffle in DC for 5 years in a row. I believed him because the entire time we were there, people stopped in to buy some, and they sold out while we were talking. Luckily, we’d already claimed our box.

Plan B

If you visit during the summer months and keeping the truffles cold/frozen for any length of time is problematic, you could take home one of their chocolate assortments instead. Not to-die-for like the truffles, but the chocolate is good quality, the candies are not overly sweet, and they include unusual ingredients like whole pistachios, cashews and dried cranberries. They make for a pretty gift box that tastes good.

Chocolates made on-site

All of the chocolates and other candies sold here are made in the kitchen at the back of the store. They offer a wide range of molded, filled, dipped and solid chocolates. Plus they will do custom molds (when we were there, they were packing an order of life-size chocolate footballs for the Washington Redskins) and other custom candy orders.

Alex said that within reason, they can make anything into chocolate. He said the chocolate torsos on display are popular gifts for people who have survived breast cancer. (Not sure what the almost life-size chocolate legs celebrate.)

And it seems like they’ll dip just about anything into chocolate: In addition to fresh fruit which they dip on Fridays, they dip dried fruit, candies (Gummi bears are popular with kids), pretzels, even potato chips, which Alex described as similar to chocolate-covered bacon, and my sister said sounded ideal for PMS cravings. Although the chocolate is good and the chips were salty, it didn’t really come together for us. But then I’m not a fan of chocolate-covered bacon either.

Although the store looks like a gift shop and it’s been in business over 30 years, this is not an old-fashioned candy store. I think the chocolate appeals to a more mature taste, and they experiment with it. New items this year include a peppermint bark, which had a candy cane crunch in a good creamy candy drizzled with chocolate. Amazingly, not too sweet. Other new items are hot chili & jalapeno truffles, blueberry wafers & chocolate mousse-filled figs.

If you can’t make it to DC, they do have an online store and will ship anywhere.