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Q • I was wondering what is the best recipe for chocolate covered strawberries? — Gabrielle Desits, St. Louis

It’s strawberry season at Kakao, and owner Brian Pelletier is more than happy to share a recipe for delicious chocolate-dipped strawberries home cooks can easily make at home. In fact, Pelletier believes the freshest, best-tasting berries dipped in chocolate are best made at home and enjoyed within a few hours.

“Once you dip any kind of fruit in chocolate, the shelf life drops to about four hours,” Pelletier says. “The chocolate coating doesn’t allow the berry to breathe, so it starts to get mushy. Refrigeration takes a lot of the flavor out of both the fruit and the chocolate. The fruit loses its crisp bite. It’s best to get some fresh berries and make your own.”

It’s unusual for a chocolatier to tout that something would be best made at home, but Pelletier is an unusual guy. He’s as much an educator as he is a chocolate artist. He’s a savvy marketer who knows his customers expect the best from Kakao. While our featured recipe dishes are normally on the menu every day for two weeks, Pelletier can’t guarantee he’ll always have fresh dipped berries in stock.

“We buy our fruits fresh each week at the farmers market,” he says. “What we make depends on availability.” Kakao is known for buying local whenever possible. It doesn’t use preservatives or chemicals, only natural flavorings and colorings.

Although cooks may be dipping berries at home, readers will still want to stop by either the Maplewood or the Clayton shop to find real strawberry goodness. Kakao has plenty of shelf-stable handmade candies like truffles with strawberry ganache centers and jewel-like strawberry pates de fruits, dipped in sugar or covered in chocolate. Kakao’s handmade strawberry marshmallows and house-made strawberry sauces from their ice cream toppings selection are big sellers.

When the staff makes dipped fruits, Pelletier advertises their availability on the Kakao Facebook page. Early birds get the berries, which quickly sell out. “We first add a strawberry pates de fruits to the berries, we add a layer of chocolate ganache next, then dip both in chocolate.”

Both the Clayton and the Maplewood shops offer summer specialties too fun to pass up. Add more flavors to your strawberry sauce like burnt caramel and chocolate fudge for your ice cream desserts. Organize a chocolate tasting party after hours at the stores with a minimum of eight friends and a maximum of 30 people. Details of this and other events appear on their website.

Head for the market, find fresh berries, buy some really good chocolate, and get to work. If you stop by Tower Grove farmers market, you may find Pelletier the chocolatier in the Kakao booth.


Kakao — Maplewood

7272 Manchester Road

314-645-4446

Kakao — Clayton

7720 Forsyth Boulevard

314-726-7974


To request recipe • Would you like to request a recipe from a restaurant that is still open in the St. Louis area? Send your request along with your full name and the city you live in to reciperequest@post-dispatch.com.

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