It takes a special kind of World Cup soccer fan to find himself watching the beautiful game and say to himself, That’d make a tasty chocolate.
It makes it easier to conceive if you happen to own South Florida’s first bean-to-bar chocolate shop — and you happen to be a World Cup fanatic. That’s why Ricardo Trillos, a Venezuelan-born fútbol lover and founder of Miami’s Cao Chocolates, created a limited-run of World Cup-inspired bonbons.
“I’m a soccer freak, so this is the most significant time of year for me,” Trillos said. “After chocolate, soccer is my second passion.”
Cao Chocolates is renowned for its dedication to making fine chocolates. Unlike many other chocolatiers who buy ready-made chocolate from overseas to make their desserts here, Cao imports the beans. They roast them in Miami to create luscious milk and dark chocolate they then use in their confections.
They are even working with Patch of Heaven farm in the Redland to grow 200 of their own cacao trees in Homestead, which would make it the first commercial chocolate made from U.S. grown beans. Their first crop was nearing harvest last fall when the Hurricane Irma damaged their grove.
For the World Cup chocolates, Cao took inspiration from what makes each of 12 countries competing in the tournament stand out. The box of 12 costs $30 and is available in store on online.
Dark chocolate bonbons are infused with Rioja wine, made specifically from grapes grown in that region of Spain.
“They’re single-origin the way we are with our chocolates. It’s what we do in chocolates translated into wine,” Trillos said.
Colombian coffee beans and Colombian-sourced cacao beans come together to form an all-Colombia confection.
The main source of Cao’s chocolates, this bonbon is made with 70 percent chocolate ganache.
Picture a Mexican hot chocolate drink — dark rich, spiced with chipotle and cinnamon — and you have the essence of this bonbon.
Brigadeiros are the well-known truffles of Brazil and Cao gives them its own spin, using dulce de leche and Brazilian cacao to make these truffles.
Beer chocolate. Need we say more? Ok, we will. Cao uses imported Hofbräu Dunkel beer to infuse the chocolate ganache with a the malty flavors of a dunkel-style beer.
Call it a Nutella confection. Cao created a praline and nut cream to mix with its chocolate ganache.
Chocolate is infused with vodka. “It’s a chocolate martini in a bite,” Trillos said.
Dulce de leche is at the center of a chocolate coating.
It’s tea time. English Earl Grey black tea from Miami’s JoJo Tea is sued in making the ganache.
Matcha green tea, also sourced from JoJo Tea, is mixed with white chocolate for this bonbon.
They could have easily gone with pisco, the national alcoholic beverage, to mix with their Peruvian-sourced cacao beans. Instead, they went with something even more authentic, using chica morada — a refreshing drink made from purple corn — in this truffle.