The new Co Co. Sala chocolate boutique. Photograph courtesy of Nisha Sidhu.
The team behind Co Co. Sala
, the svelte Penn Quarter chocolate lounge, opened an adjacent boutique Monday by slicing a dark-chocolate ribbon with a torch-warmed knife. Fanciful, yes, but so is the little store that sells pastry chef Santosh Tiptur’s chocolate-covered bacon and white-chocolate bars with black-lava salt and pink peppercorns. It’s a more intimate space than the restaurant, a sprawling space for dessert tasting menus and chocolate-accented small plates (some, such as shrimp mac and cheese, are thankfully cocoa-free). In the shop, visitors can nibble samples and ask the staff questions about what owner Nisha Sidhu calls “chocolate for adults.”
Still, Tiptur’s latest creations have a whimsical, nostalgic streak. The playful Strawberry Jammin’ Bar ($10)—white chocolate inlaid with dried strawberries and Pop Rocks—leaves the mouth crackling with the carbonated candy. Chocolate ganache on a lollipop stick, “the hot choc’ pop,” ($4) is designed to be swirled into a cup of boiling milk for rich hot cocoa, which can be made even richer with a hefty, house-made vanilla marshmallow ($4). The biggest throwback to childhood? The Carnival Bar ($10), which involves a tile of milk chocolate studded with caramel corn and bits of dried Gala or Red Delicious apples.
Co Co. Sala Chocolate Boutique, 929 F St., NW; 202-347-4265. Open Monday through Saturday 11 to 7; Sunday noon to 4.