Did somebody once say that chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment?
Indeed, there is really something about chocolates that eases up the stress, discomforts and other aches of the daily grind.
It’s rich, creamy and heaven-perfect. It reminds me of the old adage, “In heaven, chocolates have no calories and are served as the main course”.
It was during one hot choco break when a life-changing eureka moment would happen between two friends, Pinky Ortiz and Valerie Lopez, while they sipped away what they thought was the best-tasting version of their favorite drink.
The setting was at Christian Escriba in lovely Barcelona, Spain. Friends Pinky and Val, enamoured by the great-tasting dark beverage they sampled, thought of bringing home their experience back to the country. They struck a partnership with two more friends, Trish Malvar and Rina Avecilla, in 2004 to establish Xocolat, a chocolate-inspired restaurant that would soon be an important player in the highly-competitive restaurant scene of Manila.
In an interview with FOODIE at their Katipunan Ave. branch, Pinky intimated to us the inspiration behind Xocolat. “A journey to Barcelona (Spain) brought us to the doorstep of this curious pasteleria in Las Ramblas. It served the creamiest and yummiest cup of hot chocolate. That little cup of heaven is the blueprint of our legendary ‘taza de Xocolat’”.
Now considered a breakthrough in the local restaurant environment dominated by conservative-palated Pinoys, Xocolat is able to pull off a menu that includes savory dishes with drizzles of chocolate! But who’s complaining? I can eat a pillowcase that’s chocolate coated!
The owners of Xocolat definitely get a kick out of seeing their loyal clients enjoying every bite and sip of their delights. They excitedly spoke about the “high” they get when a customer goes for seconds, and thirds, of that thick, dark and rich drink!
Pinky also shared with us their future dreams. “We see Xocolat as being recognized as a homegrown chocolate bar that that can compete with the global giants.” She adds that Xocolat’s vision is to someday dabble into more ambitious plans like setting up a Xocolat village, factory or a museum.
Pinky shared with FOODIE that, to date, they are still hurdling with the fact that coffee is still the default stress relaxant in the metro. “We are entering a coffee-dominated arena; so, we need to start creating a sustainable chocolate-drinking market,” she adds.
There is strong evidence that they will soon achieve their vision. The four branches that they’ve established so far have been enjoying continued patronage from a rather discriminating clientele. Who can say no to chocolates, anyway?
After all, it has been written somewhere that “On the eighth day, God created chocolates.”
Off to heaven now.