Salt & Straw Partnered With Multiple Chocolatiers For A New Collection

In a chocolate deep-dive for 2023, Salt & Straw has spread its ice cream wings into the kingdom of custom chocolatiers. Soaring along the west coast from California to its home state of Oregon and up to chocolate royalty in Seattle, it then turns coarse to Miami for some roasted Columbian cocoa nibs. In pursuit of distinctive ice cream-chocolate marriages, Salt & Straw announced a dedicated collection available in a cup or cone.

In the 2023 Chocolatiers Series from Salt & Straw, the name signals the focus – it's all about the specialty chocolate makers who bring more to the table than standard mass-produced chocolate chunks. The five chosen chocolatiers that made it into this exclusive cacao-bean-based Salt & Straw ice cream club promise ethically sourced cacao beans and specialty ingredients, which merge at Salt & Straw with surprises like Ecuadorian ishpingo spice, tropical sherbet, Tahitian vanilla, and candied almond frangipane.

It's not the first time Salt & Straw has released ice cream collections in batches of five new flavors. Its most recent holiday cream gang marched into stores in December 2022, featuring an eggnog ice cream collaboration with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, according to the Orange County Register. Known as Dwanta's Teremana Spiked Eggnog, the limited-edition scoops contained amontillado sherry and Johnson's Teremana's Reposado tequila brand.

The new chocolate and ice cream creations, arriving in time for Valentine's Day, have an earthier approach, with each chocolatier earning its premier spot in the lineup.

California chocolate contributors

Like in many specialized culinary fields, the five chocolate creators in the Salt & Straw Chocolatier Series collaboration carry monikers such as artists, prodigies, and masters, according to the Salt & Straw website. Hailing from markets in which the ice cream purveyors have a presence, the chocolate makers bring their own intricacies to the project.

The California project compatriots include the trendy Compartés chocolate shop in Los Angeles, whose chocolate-art packaging has been featured in the Smithsonian Museum. The owners revitalized the 1950s brand with artistic specialties such as painted truffles and the signature Love Nuts. It's those caramelized Love Nuts that define the Compartés Coffee & Love Nuts ice cream. Tahitian vanilla infuses the caramelization process, after which the nuts receive 14 layers of chocolate.

Further up the California coastline, the bean-to-bar Dandelion chocolate shop in San Francisco commits to ethical sources and uses only cocoa beans and organic sugar in its chocolates. It boasts its own chocolate factory, per the Dandelion website, and offers an "edible history" lesson spanning 4,000 years of chocolate. The brand's roasted Columbian cocoa nibs from the base of Salt & Straw's Dandelion Cocoa Nibs & Frangipane ice cream for the 2023 collection.

Chocolate art from Pacific Northwest and Florida

Bearing the hometown advantage, given Salt & Straw's company's headquarters in the same city, Portland-based Cloudforest brings a new twist to the Chocolatier Series. The Cloudforest Chocolate Ishpingo & Mango ice cream swirls together tropical mango curds, lemon, chocolate, and a cinnamon-like Ecuadorian spice known as ishpingo. The ingredients nod to the heritage of Cloudforest chocolate master Sebastian Cisneros, who grew up in Ecuador and formed an early love for the "cloud forests" of his country and the nuances of cacao farms and chocolate production.

Crossing the state line, Fran's Chocolates from Seattle enters the collaboration with its Almond Gold Bar chocolates. For the series, the gold bar, which Salt & Straw calls the star of Fran's "indulgent lineup," gets reimagined into salted vanilla ice cream streaked with hand-burned caramel and dark-chocolate stracciatella.

Finally, the fifth member in the Chocolatier Series comes from across the country. Hailing from Miami, Florida is Exquisito. Started by the brand's "Chocolate Empress" Carolina Quijano, it was inspired by a trip to Paris that left Quijano determined to replicate the chocolate she tried in the City of Light. In this collab, Exquisito brings 73% Columbian dark chocolate that is touted as ethically sourced and sustainably produced. Salt & Straw turns that into a guanabana sherbet for a fruity, chocolatey blend known as Exquisito Guanabana Stracciatella.