Although the Lenten season may be over, it’s never too late to watch the movie Chocolat. The movie is set in a small fictional and very Catholic town in France during Lent in what appears to be the late 1950’s. Staying true to its title, the movie centers around chocolate, its mysterious and magical qualities, and the amazing self-discipline it takes to not be captivated by the dark treat. During the movie, the leading female owns the new and forbidden chocolate shop that is as decadent in imagery as it is scent. Not only does the shop owner make all her own chocolate (an ancient Mayan recipe) but she spins a Mayan wheel that is said to stop on the image that reveals her customers’ favorite kind of chocolate.
I mention this movie and the synopsis now because two weeks ago I had the pleasure of eating at a little chocolate shop – Le Chocolat – in Naperville, IL. Le Chocolat shared many elements from the chocolate shop in the movie. Aside from the name, the quaint shop also has a huge variety of homemade chocolates, an old fashioned counter with hightop chairs, and it even has an “ancient Mayan wheel”, which sadly is just for decoration.
When I walked into the little shop, I knew instantly that I wanted to buy something…eat something…anything, everything…because it all looked and smelled wonderful. Although I did not have the opportunity to spin the wheel, it didn’t matter – I already knew my favorite – hot chocolate and mini cupcakes! The cupcakes were delicious and the hot chocolate (triple chocolate to be exact) was some of the best, if not THE best, hot chocolate I’ve ever had in the US (Barcelona, you are still #1!).
Despite having consumed nearly 1,000 calories (I’m being somewhat dramatic) and being full to the brim with chocolate, I could not leave the shop without buying something to take home. I settled on white chocolate covered lemon shortbread balls with blueberries inside. Now if that doesn’t sound heavenly (and slightly Willy Wonka-esque), I don’t know what does.
Chocolate lemon balls in hand, I left Le Chocolat in slight sugar shock, but happy as can be. Although I intended to wait until I regained my appetite to try my new purchase, something compelled me to try them. Maybe it was because they were so pretty, or maybe it was sheer curiosity (lemon and chocolate?), or maybe because, no matter how full I am, there’s always room for Le Chocolat.