I am your typical, run-of-the-mill chocolate fanatic. I am also your typical, run-of-the-mill coffee freak. And I have joyfully found a place where both beans join together for a storybook happily-ever-after.
ChocXO (pronounced choc-zo) is Orange County’s first and only bean-to-bar factory, and the brainchild of 30-year chocolate industry veteran Richard Foley, former owner of Qzina in Irvine. At his two recently opened cafés, Chocxo Coffee and Cacao, one in Costa Mesa and one in Lake Forest (where their coffee beans are roasted), you can indulge in the best mocha and frappes you’ve ever had, made with their homemade ganache. These drinks, the sea-salt caramel truffles, and pints of take-home-ganache make this place an extra-special stop. There has yet to be a ChocXO product that hasn’t made me swoon.
Even better, you can tour their Irvine factory (the former home of Qzina) and see the step-by-step, state-of-the-art process for turning beans into bars. A member of the ChocXO production team wraps up the tour with a taste test of the final product. Foley says, “Using the finest beans and lab equipment worth more than $1 million demonstrates our commitment to bringing the highest quality chocolate to Orange County.” To this I say, “mission accomplished.”
Interested in a ChocXO tour? The first three to comment on this article will each receive two free passes to a factory tour for use in November.