In addition to giving every woman (and man) a go-to in times of stress and indulgence, chocolate has long been a sweet and seductive vehicle for other culinary curiosities. Chocolate-covered espresso beans deliver quick caffeine. Chocolate-covered acai berries boast antioxidants. Chocolate-covered insects help you choke down the exotic, while chocolate-covered potato chips prove that it really is possible to blend sweet and savory and still get no nutritional value.
My most recent discovery in the world of chocolate-covered delicacies was unexpectedly found in a kava bar in Berkeley. To say MeloMelo Kava Bar lives up to its name would be a terrible understatement. The coffee and alcohol-free bar, which opened a year ago in February, offers a trippy tranquil vibe that promises the opposite of caffeinated jitters or morning-after hangovers. In their inaugural year, they've acquired quite the following of regular customers. This could be due to the kava — a stress-reducing drink made from a peppery plant root grown in the South Pacific — but I think it's due to the chocolate.
Kava in its purest form tastes like dirt. That's not an insult, it's the truth. Apparently, some people like the taste of dirt (or just the chilled out tranquility that follows). For the rest of us there's kava chocolate, a sweet tooth's answer to stress (and one that might actually work). MeloMelo partners with Coracao Confections, who create exclusive vegan kava chocolate truffles that contain a generous kick of MeloMelo's signature root. The kava bar also sells Kava Chocolate chocolate bars. Similar to a pot brownie, the cocoa in kava chocolate masks the dirty flavor while still delivering the relaxing properties of the natural sedative. But don't get too excited.
“It’s not like eating edible marijuana, where you can have half a brownie and be stoned out of your mind,” says Nico Rivard, part-owner of MeloMelo. The chocolate bars contain 300 milligrams of kava each. “You could have a couple chocolate bars and feel a little buzzed,” says Rivard.
A dream come true for those of us who could use another way to get mellow.
MeloMelo Kava Bar: 1701 University Ave, Berkeley, 510-900-9316.