I was in Philadelphia the other day with a couple of friends when, unexpectedly, we stumbled into the Wonka factory. Well, okay there were no fizzy lifting drinks, and no orange midgets singing about the repercussions of watching television or chewing gum, and no, Johnny Depp was not there, dressed as a bug-eyed pedophile. But there was chocolate. There was A LOT of chocolate.
The restaurant is called, “Naked Chocolate,” but with so many varieties and peculiar yet delectable flavors mixed in, the chocolate at this place is anything but naked. However, “Fully-clothed Chocolate” doesn’t sound nearly as enticing. By peculiar flavors, I mean that it is possible to buy individual chocolates filled with lavender or chai tea that go by the names of “Paris,” “Figaro,” and “Vienna.” One that I found most intriguing was called “Mozart,” and was sculpted into the shape of a tiny grand piano, with detailed keys and everything. How is it possible to eat something that artistic? Oh, it’s possible. Or at least it is at Naked Chocolate. And no matter how many pieces of chocolate you order, if you decide to eat in, they are served on a tiny white serving platter, which simultaneously makes the chocolates seem all the more important, and makes you feel all the more guilty for consuming them in less than four bites.
In addition to individual chocolate pieces, there is also an extensive menu of both iced and hot chocolate; the hot chocolate is available in both European and American varieties. European hot chocolate is of a rich, almost-pudding-like consistency, and stunningly similar to the chocolate you can find in Barcelona, minus the churros, of course. The weather in Philadelphia was far too chilly for iced chocolate, but I hope to make a return trip someday to try it. I’ve been craving iced chocolate since I saw the film, Serendipity and was saddened to learn that the film’s namesake restaurant in NYC had been closed down. The existence of Naked Chocolate, however, means that all opportunity for me to pretend I am an Englishwoman named Sara with an absurd yet charming belief in destiny has not been lost. Yet sadly, John Cusack is starting to look pretty old.
Other items on the menu are chocolate covered graham crackers and pretzels, and some non-chocolate things like lemon bars and cupcakes with bright, pastel icing and sprinkles. Also unique is their selection of teas which supposedly complement the chocolate, sort of like the relationship between wine and cheese. And my personal favorite, although I don’t understand the meaning of its existence at all: (….drumroll….) the champagne bottle sculpted entirely out of chocolate.
Upon entering Naked Chocolate, I had the awed desire to try everything- to jump over the counter, take a bite of every chocolate, steal a finger-full of each cupcake icing, and raid the tea selection. However, I was forced to make the more lawful decision to make about a hundred return trips. So if you’re craving chocolate concoctions, lemon bars, or lusting after a golden ticket, be sure to give me a call.