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Chocolate Life

Amara Chocolate and Coffee


I discovered sipping chocolate a long time ago. But I’ve only had it once or twice and I don’t remember where…until this month. That’s when I discovered Amara Chocolate and Coffee in Pasadena, CA. I realize this spot is only accessible to locals since Amara is a café, not a store or website. But, it’s worth learning about because someday, if you’re a “chocolate person,” you will want experience sipping chocolate. I promise you.

Sipping chocolate is like having a melted down chocolate bar diluted with a little sweetened condensed milk (you know that “Eagle Brand” stuff you make dessert with?), and infused with exotic spices. It’s still dark chocolate but the texture is super creamy and it almost has a buttery flavor (and a slight kick) to it. It’s served in little cups (you wouldn’t want more than that) and it’s so rich and thick, you’re forced to just sip it (hence the name, I’m sure.) From what I understand, there are cafes all over Spain that serve this if you go in and ask for “a chocolate.” I’m told it’s everywhere; ubiquitous. When is America going to take up ubiquitous sipping chocolate? I should have a talk with Howard Schultz. If this isn’t perfect for Starbucks, I don’t know what is. Then again, if it can’t be massed produced for pennies, he probably wouldn’t be interested. So maybe I’ll open my open chocolate “bar” one day; who knows?

Amara is named after the owner, a woman from Venezuela who came here with her family and opened up this little café where they serve the sipping chocolate which is part of her family’s tradition dating back to 1916. It also comes in several varieties like hot (sipping) chocolate mixed with espresso, or, with a touch of Mexican pasilla chili powder and cinnamon, there’s also one with ginger added. Even their “fire and ice” version which includes a scoop of vanilla gelato in the cup sounds fabulous. The Raymond (named after the Pasadena street the café sits on) boasts a crown of salted caramel marshmallow on top-amazing. If you come to LA as a tourist or if you’re a local looking for a Sunday drive destination, this is it. Come to Amara for the chocolate but don’t forget to order the homemade Churros (NOT the Disneyland variety-they’re incredible!)

Amara Chocolate Coffee Churros