Adventures in Eating & Cooking
As a complete chocoholic, I was drawn to the classy little chocolate cafe on the corner of Walnut and 34th Streets in UPenn-land. First of all, the name intrigued me a great deal. “The Naked Chocolate” definitely has a seductive, decadent ring to it, suggesting that eating their chocolate would induce both the great pleasure and guilt that people supposedly experience during sex. However, I thought that the name choice implied that the chocolate is pure, uncoated, raw, and rather simple. Being curious about how untainted The Naked Chocolate is from the hands of big business, I decided to to see for myself exactly how “naked” their chocolate is.
Judging from the cover, The Naked Chocolate was quite robed in gilt letters and displayed all sorts of goodies in the store window. But you know what they say: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s the contents of the cafe that’s important.
Aside from selling chocolates in the style of Kee (Kee’s Chocolates), The Naked Chocolate also served cupcakes, cakes, chocolate beverages, and these interesting pyramid-shaped desserts called nudos. The nudos looked some breed of brownie-cake-souffle. I just had to try one, so I bought the chocolate nudo (there were also chocolate chip ones, which resembled a cookie-blondie).
The nudo was a strange experience. Delicious, but strange. When I first bit into it, the nudo was very hard and crunchy, a bit like a crumbly cookie. But as I continued to chew, it became more chewy and rich, like a delicious brownie. As I dug deeper into the nudo, I expected it to get fluffier and softer, but the consistency didn’t change much. It got a bit chewier until I reached small hollow core. I thought the nudo was quite creative. It contained the delicious melt-in-mouth goodness of a gooey brownie in a tough shell.
I also couldn’t resist getting one of the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting, although it turned out to be quite a letdown. Contrary to the richness of the nudo, the chocolate cupcake was rather un-chocolatey. The cake tasted sort of like chocolate ice cream chocolate, but not chocolate. It reminded me of the really airy but flavorless chocolate cakes sold in Chinese bakeries. I suppose some people prefer this sort of style, but I’m not just one of those people.
But the worst part was the vanilla frosting. It was way too sweet and overpowering, a common but deadly mistake of cupcake frosting-makers. After a few bites of the cake, I felt sick and had to wipe the frosting off with my fork. I’m tempted to think that the cupcake-froster might have accidentally used icing instead of frosting. Well, I’ve learned my lesson: Never get anything with vanilla frosting at The Naked Chocolate.
However, my roomie really enjoyed her peanut butter-frosted chocolate cupcake. Hmm, maybe I should try that next time, but vanilla frosting is definitely on my boycott list.
And something interesting displayed in the store I just wanted to share with everyone: a chocolate leg! It looks like it was made of real chocolate too. I suppose it really fits with the store theme, since it was a naked chocolate leg…
Grade: A- for the nudo, B-/B for the cupcake, and overall I’d say B+ overall until I try the chocolates!