There’s this shop on the south end of High Street, the main north/south drag through Columbus, Ohio. And although it’s wishful thinking that they could move closer to me, it’s just a good thing that this place exists at all, in a city I happen to like and visit once a year.
Le Chocoholique, open since 2010, is a dark and elegant space with cafe seating, coffee drinks, a wine bar offering chocolate-friendly wines, ales and cocktails, and trays of impossible-to-try-them-all pastries and chocolates. You’d have to visit many times to work through the selection, and even then, you’re likely to get frustrated (in a good way), since flavors get switched out and new ones added regularly
Where to start? Just look at the adult beverage list, with offerings such as Joel Gott Relative Red 2000, Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc and Steele Cuvee’ Chardonnay, plus a variety of dessert wines. For ales, there’s Brooklyn Brewery Chocolate Stout, Hell or High Watermelon Beer and Well’s Banana Bread Beer. Want a chocolate-covered pretzel martini, or a dulce de leche martini with those truffles? You can get them here. Coffee drinks are available in everything from black pepper fig to cardamom rosewater to ginger passionfruit, plus classic espresso, Americano, cappuccino and hot chocolate.
But you are here for the chocolates. And please, try a variety of the most unusual: the Velvet Elvis (with peanut butter, banana and bacon), Hellishly Hot Peanut Butter, Olive Oil, Ghost Chili, lavender Fleur de Sel, rosemary caramel, Limoncello espresso, Bleu cheese and any of those flavored with liqueurs and spirits (Courvoisier, Absolut, Maker’s Mark and Remy Martin). There are plenty of “standards” flavored with fruit, nuts, maple syrup, spices, coffee and honey, too.
Le Chocoholique also does pies, brownies, cupcakes, chocolate fondue, gelato and specialty desserts including tiramisu, creme brulee, Sacher torte and cheesecake. It’s a cocktail boutique, a coffee lounge, a chocolate specialty shop, a bakery, a wine bar; it’s enough calories for the day and sweet selections for several months. And it’s a can’t-miss stop in the Short North district.
The shop also carries a selection of bean-to-bar chocolates, including a brand I had not tried: M. Recchiuti. I bought the Orchard Bar, which is a semisweet chocolate bar studded with caramel syrup-coated mulberries, toasted almonds and currants, and the Dark Milk Bar. Dark Milk sounds like a contradiction of terms, but the taste is anything but confusing. It’s an excellent compromise between on-the-mild-side milk and fruity-finishing 85% dark. If you are on the fence when it comes to either milk or dark, this bar will knock you right off your perch.And while the Orchard Bar sounds like too much going on in a three-ounce package, it isn’t. There’s enough fruit and nuts to keep you interested, but not so much as to mask the chocolate quality. A thumb’s up for each of these!
Le Chocoholique (http://www.lechocoholique.com/v1/), 601 North High Street, Columbus, OH. Phone (614) 223-4009. Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m, to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6: 30 p.m.