The Pod Life

ChocoVivo's intense new chocolate made the old Aztec way

We believe excellent chocolate is close to high art. Of course, great art can only come from a great artist–and Patricia Tsai, founder of LA's new chocolatorium ChocoVivo, is exactly that.

Tsai makes her chocolate from scratch, starting with organic cacao beans that are grown, slightly fermented and sun-dried on a 100-year-old plantation in Tabasco, Mexico. Once shipped to her West LA workspace, she grinds the nibs just like the Aztecs did–with the mortar-and-pestle-like mano and metate–which ensures all the subtle nuances, aromas and textures that mass-produced chocolate lacks. The chocolate is sold in bar or powder form for baking and also as flavored hot cocoa mixes to blend with milk (delicious), cream (decadent) or water (intense). Think more Montezuma, less Willy Wonka.

Local chefs are also taking note: ChocoVivo hot cocoa is such a perfect foil for pastry chef Zoe Nathan's cinnamon-sugar donuts that it caused a public outcry when she took the dessert off the Rustic Canyon menu. It's now back on, indefinitely.