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But First, (Compartes) Chocolate?

Coffee is universally appealing. Its ubiquity is obvious, and it pairs well with a plethora of foods. Coffee shops have taken note. Take The Mill in San Francisco; its Four Barrel-brewed coffees just aren’t complete unless paired with a slab of thick, Josey Baker Bread toast. Although more than a coffee shop, Le Pain Quotidien is also big on pairing coffee with gourmet toasts. Being French, the chain also offers a bountiful selection of pastries. Their pain au chocolate and jumbo-sized meringues are not to be missed.

Then there is Alfred Coffee & Kitchen. The original location on Melrose Place hosts a trendy and cool scene that stands up to the hype, as does the Stumptown-brewed coffee. The latest addition to the coffee shop is a tiny, black and white room, with rows of artfully wrapped chocolate bars in flavors like Biscuits and Honey, Caramelized Popcorn, Donuts and Coffee, and Cereal Bowl (white chocolate with bits of Lucky Charms cereal, naturally.) Alfred’s notorious “but first, coffee” mantra has suddenly been given a run for its money; but first, chocolate may be on its way to becoming the more appealing option.   

Compartes Chocolatier Chocolates was founded in 1950 with the intention of bringing European chocolate techniques to the United States. Since it first started out, Compartes’ allure has attracted celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, and the chocolate continues to be enjoyed by a notable list of stars and chocoholics around the world today. The chocolates are made daily at Compartes’ factory and store in Los Angeles, and their head chocolatier, Jonathan Grahm, has become somewhat of a celebrity himself. If you aren’t sold on the chocolate already, you have to see his Instagram.

Proust favored cookies, and gourmet toasts have become all the rage, but chocolate seems like the ideal pairing for a hot cup of Joe. We all know the saying from Forrest Gump, but when you’re eating a Compartes chocolate, you do know what you’re doing to get, and that’s one amazing, unique bar of chocolate. (A great photo op, too.)


The display of chocolates at the Compartes Store. 

Coffee and toast combination at The Mill.

Another coffee and toast combination at Le Pain Quotidien.


{Default image via Oh Joy! // All other images c/o author.}

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