By Thom Volarath

Tucked away in a small alley in Inman Park is a chocolate laboratory that will change your definition of chocolate. Cacao Atlanta specializes in small batches of artisan chocolates. Make no mistake, this is serious chocolate.

Kristen Hard, the owner of Cacao, and her passionate staff love chocolate and it shows. The boutique is beautiful with chocolate artfully displayed everywhere.

Selections range from chocolate dipped marshmallows to small intense pieces of dark chocolate infused with flavors like basil, lavender, and bourbon.

Handmade caramels, truffles, hot chocolate and my favorite, The Chocolate Salami (a concoction of dark chocolate with amaretto butter biscotti), round out the rest of the collection.

Cacao stands apart, not only in the product selection, but also the ingredients as well. Kristen travels to the Caribbean several times a year to purchase organic cacao beans from independent farmers. It’s important to her to not only personally source her own ingredients, but also to maintain fair, working relationships with her vendors as well.

Historically, chocolates have always been considered precious. Ancient tribes and various civilizations took great lengths to make chocolate a treat that was meant to be savored and enjoyed. And with the care and love that Kristen and her team has put into their products, Cacao has definitely brought back the joy of savoring chocolates.

Cacao Atlanta is located at 312C North Highland Ave. For more information visit. www.cacaoatlanta.com

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.