Parliament Chocolate: Bean to Bar Shop in Redlands
Parliament Chocolate is a small chocolate shop that just opened a couple of months ago (in 2014) in Redlands. Since every chocolate is handcrafted, you need to get there close to when they open if you want to have a good selection. I got there right when they opened on a Sunday and ordered one of each chocolate they had, and here is the review.
- Cost: $1.50 for a truffle, candied orange peel was 3 for $2 (as of 2014)
- Hours: Sat-Sun from 12:00 – 5:00 PM, they will close when they run out of chocolate though, and it can be sooner.
- Outdoor seating area
- Located only a block from A La Minute, so why not get both?
- I wrote this in 2014
Parliament Chocolate is one of only 30 shops in the entire United States that is bean to bar. What this means is that they are involved in the whole process, from getting the seed pod with the beans to roasting them and preparing the chocolate. In case you didn’t know what a pod looked like here it is, the seeds inside of this is what they use to make the chocolate (sorry the picture is through glass).
The owls that make up the decorations in the store are a throwback to when this spot was known as the White Owl Cafe in the 1960s. Parliament creates a new owl for each of the countries their chocolates come from, and they currently have three.
All of this would not matter if the chocolate was not good, but let me tell you it is fantastic. Yes, it is $1.50 for a small truffle and yes, if you love the taste of Nestle’s, then the style may be lost on you (not that there is anything wrong with Nestle’s). This is gourmet chocolate, and it should be enjoyed slowly, taking in the flavors like a fine wine.
While the straight chocolate is impressive by itself (if you like dark chocolate, which is much less sweet than milk), they also have some unique confections. I have had everything from lavender to honey. My personal favorite is the one they make with the local coffee shop Augie’s, which has espresso beans on the outside. It was perfect.
It is hard to know what type of chocolate will be there when you go though. Depending on the time, they could have run out of one, or depending on the week, they may be trying a new flavor. I can honestly say though that I haven’t had one I didn’t like, so I am sure most everything is pretty good.
Lastly, if you are into cooking with fresh chocolate (without sugar added in), they also sell nibs of some of their beans that you can use for cooking.
Once you grab some chocolate, you can head out to the pretty outdoor seating area they have, complete with a couple of picnic benches and a small garden before getting in your car and heading back to the real world from your chocolate road trip.
All in all, I love this place, and I would love to have suggestions for other chocolate shops people recommend. Make sure to leave them in the comments.