Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Pink




905 Juniper St., NE, Atlanta http://www.chocolatepinkcafe.com/

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love chocolate. I have a definite sweet tooth, and can generally rattle off a litany of desserts served in any restaurant I've patronized. When it comes to seeking out dessert for its own sake (as opposed to the final component of a meal), I'll take the desserts at Chocolate Pink Cafe about 90% of the time.

Chocolate Pink resides in a cute, brick shopping center at 905 Juniper at the intersection with 8th St. It is closed on Monday. Its Executive Pastry Chef, Christian Balbierer, trained in France and worked in Alon's, Bluepoint, Pano's & Paul's and Eclipse di Sol before opening the Cafe with business partner Michael Goodrich a few years ago. Kudos to Chef Christian for branching out on your own. You've certainly done the dessert lovers of Atlanta a big favor.

The first time I visited Chocolate Pink I was blown away by the beautiful dark brown and pink decor, soft French music playing in the background and the brightly lit glass dessert case. After carefully viewing all of the day’s pastries and listening to the chipper server describe them in all their individual goodness, I chose the signature Chocolate Pink Mousse Cake, which has a hazelnut cookie bottom, chocolate truffle mousse, chocolate buttermilk cake and chocolate ganache. It’s a little round cake with a pink chocolate ganache on top, and it was one of the smoothest, sweetest desserts I’ve ever eaten. My friend Kelly selected the Petunia, which is comprised of brown sugar bananas, chocolate buttermilk cake, Nutella ganache, hazelnut mousse, with a joconde border. Kelly loved the combination of Nutella, brown sugar and bananas. We sipped our lattes and immersed ourselves in the delicate but substantial pastries.

Last Thursday night my friend Eliza joined me for some coffee and pastries at 7pm. I had the chocolate toffee tart with Oreo cookie crust, which was a rich treat. Since my first visit, I made it a point to try a new dessert each time I returned to chocolate pink, and I’ve discovered an array of flavors that’s incomparable in the Atlanta bakery scene. The fleur de sel caramel is sort of a mini-pecan pie with a chocolate cookie shell, containing caramel and chocolate custard and sprinkled liberally with fleur de sel (a French gourmet sea salt). The sweetness of the chocolate and caramel is perfectly offset by the fleur de sel and pecans. If that sounds like too much chocolate for you, there’s also rich cheesecake, tart key lime pie and cinnamon spiked apple frangipane, each of which can hold its own on your flavor palette. The browned meringue top of the key lime pie is whipped up and around in three individual points, reminding me of a work in a Chihuli glass exhibit. The apple frangipane is especially pretty, containing four slices of apple laid out in a pinwheel across the top and baked until golden brown into the pastry.

Chocolate Pink also serves whimsical cupcakes (think PB&J), cookies, brownies, creamy tea drinks and individual chocolates by Norman Love Confections. They are the only edibles not made in-house.

Verdict: My favorite sweets in Atlanta. Scrumptious desserts, perfectly presented. A step above Alon's, Cafe Intermezzo and Piece of Cake.

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