2003A Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301
CUISINE Cafe, Sweets
PRICE Under $12
HOURS Open for breakfast, Saturday, lunch and dinner daily.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESBreakfast Weekend
By Warren Rojas
“Hello again. Here for your chocolate fix?” the kindly attendant asks the wide-eyed young lady who has obviously darkened the ACKC doorway once or twice before.
“I am,” the unrepentant chocoholic replies.
This snazzy cocoa bar represents the consolidation of Artfully Chocolate and Kingsbury Confections, simpatico sweets merchants who joined forces and unveiled their first combination drink palace/confection depot in the District late last year.
Although the anyway-you-like-it chocolate concept has carried over well to Del Ray, co-owner Eric Nelson said they recently surmised that many of their pre-existing dessert offerings, while good, were perhaps not entirely trek-worthy. So they’re stacking the odds in their favor by rolling out additional after-dinner enticements.
“What we’ve decided is that maybe a better niche for us is in being a dessert destination,” he said of their plan to introduce more gasp-inducing treats like the new molten-lava torte, chocolate-hazelnut cakes, hot-cocoa flights and expanded ice-cream offerings (currently composed using Gifford’s chocolate and vanilla).
Meanwhile, Nelson said they’ve gone to great lengths to build their brand by cross-pollinating nearly every item they offer—be it a made-to-order beverage, homemade truffle, hand-crafted chocolate bars or frozen fare—with signature flavor combinations (cinnamon-chipotle peppers, lavender-pistachio, etc.).
You can almost taste the love.
The full-bodied Marilyn floods the senses with candied orange and cream (intoxicating). The fire-spitting Lucy delivers chipotle flashes that light up the back of your throat (building heat with every drawn breath), while the frothy, warmed chocolate coddles your inner child. Chill-seekers can succumb with a white-chocolate frappe that spins chocolate, milk and ice into a foamy stress-reliever crowned with whipped cream (sublime).
Solid indulgences include a petite but infinitely pleasurable gourmet chocolate and cheese plate, a dairy duet of milk, dark and white chocolates partnered with organoleptic curds (often acquired from neighboring Cheesetique) ranging from ripened blues to fiery jalapeno cheddars.
Meanwhile, nostalgic eaters can retreat to a less hectic time by sinking their teeth—no braces, please—into bulbous candy apples shellacked in gooey caramel, milk chocolate, mini M&M’s, toffee chips, crushed nuts, sprinkles and just about any other crunchy topping you can imagine.