Café Chocolate Lititz : Café
Dark chocolate Brightens Menu at Lititz Cafe
Chocolate flows at Cafe Chocolate of Lititz
By SUE GLEITER, Of The Patriot-News
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
The area's only chocolate cafe at 40 E. Main St. in Lititz, Lancaster County, pays tribute to the "food of the gods" in more ways than one.
A chocolate fountain sits in a front window flowing with melted chocolate chunks for dipping strawberries, pizelle cookies and Sturgis Factory pretzels.
A vinaigrette on the menu melds chocolate with strawberry puree, a chocolate sauce is drizzled on crepes and hot chocolate is frothed with organic milk.
There's one catch.
"We actually don't serve any chocolate with less than 50-percent cocoa solids except for a mango truffle, it works better with a slight addition of milk," said Selina Man, owner.
You won't find milk chocolate on the menu here. Instead, dark chocolate is the star.
Across the country, dark chocolate is all the rage right now. Manufacturers including Hershey's are rolling out dark chocolate bars. (See taste test.)
Last year, several studies revealed dark chocolate, largely eaten in Europe, comes with health benefits. It contains more antioxidants than red wine, green tea and blueberries
It also contains more cocoa solids and less sugar.
"The purer the chocolate, the better the taste," Man said.
Most of the chocolates at Cafe Chocolate are organic or fair trade from countries around the world. (Fair trade means growers in developing countries receive a fair price for their crops.)
Chocolate cafes are sprouting up around the country, especially in major metropolitan areas such as New York. As far as Man knows, her cafe is one of the only ones to carry a social message.
"I think very few of us understand how unique a substance it is; it certainly is not promoted at all in this country that it is a living food and that people grow them in the rain forest," she said.
Among the chocolates Man sells is a single origin chocolate from a rare Arriba cocoa grown in Ecuador called Plantations. The bars sell for $3.95.
The cafe also carries a line of premium chocolate no-sugar truffles and a dark chocolate bar with Maititol, a natural sweetener, made by Yamate Chocolatier in New Jersey.
There are also chocolate drinks and desserts such as a key lime tart with an organic dark chocolate cookie crust and mini bundt cake.
In the future, Man said she hopes to incorporate chocolate as an ingredient in more savory dishes and hold more chocolate tastings.
"The menu is designed to widen the vocabulary of our taste buds so when you eat chocolate you can say 'Hey, this chocolate has some passion fruit or licorice or this amazing paprika flavor or different berries, apricots, cumin, coriander, hickory,'" Man said.
Since opening last April in a converted pharmacy, Man said business has been good. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We learned two things when we opened. No. 1, men love dark chocolate. The irony is I don't have a single woman who offers to sit under the chocolate fountain with their mouth open.
"Children absolutely adore dark chocolate, you can see kids from a year on up licking their plates. I think people think that they don't like dark chocolate, but absolutely, No. 1 they have never tasted dark chocolate," she said.
Non-chocolate foods include crepes, quiche, flatbread pizza, mushroom burgers, South African meatloaf and Jamaican-style meat pies. Diners are welcome to bring their own wine.
"Our motto is chocolate for life. We play on the idea we eat chocolate every day for the rest of our life and really try and let people think chocolate is good for life," Man said.
Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p. m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 626-0123.
Directions from Harrisburg: Take the Pennsylvania Turnpike east to Manheim/Lebanon exit, and go south on Route 72 to the square in Manheim. Take a left at the square and head east on Route 772 for about 7 miles to West Lincoln Avenue. Turn right and head south on Route 501 for about 1/4 mile to square in Lititz and turn left onto Main Street.