Mutari!
Saturday September 01st 2018, 9:35 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

There’s a new chocolate shop in Santa Cruz and we wanted to check it out. How would it compare to our old favorite? We had to go to both on the same day to know, right?

What better way to celebrate having our daughter in town?

Given that seven million people live in the San Francisco Bay area and that there are only three routes over the mountains between San Francisco and well south of San Jose and two of those are two-lane roads and what beach traffic on a holiday is like, we hit the road before nine, and only had to do a little stop-and-go. We knew it would mean we’d have time to kill when we got there, but spending that time parked on the freeway vs walking around in our favorite beach town, hey.

Downtown parking before ten, no problem.

We bought books at Bookshop Santa Cruz in thanks for their being open for us. I tried to remember exactly what it looked like before the ’89 quake destroyed the original; there’s a plaque on the building saying they’d reused the iron balconies from the old on the new to try to keep some of the history of the place. I remembered an upstairs restaurant, I think in that building, long gone….

The doors were open on the sock store across the street, too. They had a pair that pictured cats playing on stacks of books: for $8, I’d found the one thing that most describes my friend Constance. Hey. That’s a splurge I could do.

We ate an early lunch at our old favorite, which is a restaurant as well.

They did not know the competition they were in, and turns out they were definitely not having their best day. The service was good but the food and the chocolate both were surprisingly off. Sipping chocolate as grainy pudding? Michelle’s no-dairy version was problematical, too. We felt bad for them.

The second chocolate place had had a note on the door apologizing that they would have to open late today, or we would have eaten there first. Dessert and life being uncertain and all that.

That’s okay.¬†Mutari was definitely worth the wait.

The address listed on a news article someone had linked to that had clued us in to their existence turned out to be old and wrong but we found their new place via our phones.

Having just had that other sipping chocolate, one small spoonful of Mutari’s and I gasped, Oh WOW! Wow. What chocolate! What a difference. This is seriously the best.

We tried their fruit confection. It was hard not to buy a whole lot more on the spot.

We tried their truffles.

We agreed that there was no place but this place that we would go to for chocolate in Santa Cruz from now on.¬†These guys truly know what they’re creating.

The proprietor asked if we wanted to sample their bars, too?

We were stuffed but we weren’t going to turn that down. Curiosity had been the point of the whole expedition. Sure!

She brought out four jars of broken bits with the names of each on top and a board with matching rows of the same laid out, one of each for each of us.

Just behind us as we tasted was a long row of 50 Kg bags of cacao beans stacked on each other, the origin of each stenciled on the burlap. As they said in the store, sometimes there’s a different flavor at the top of a hill than the bottom of the hill of the same variety of cacao and they make micro batches that let you try them individually.

Some of those definitely were coming home with us.

The woman was such a delight that had the cowl project in my purse been done I would have cast off and handed it to her on the spot.

Mutari. If you can go there, go there.


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