If you are into the Miami food scene, by now you are probably familiar with the popular French breakfast spot, Buena Vista Deli. You might have even tried their bistro under the same name, but, did you know that they also have a chocolate shop with bonbons fit for a king?
Let me shed some light on that.
The other day, during one of our usual lazy brunches at Buena Vista Deli, my boyfriend and I were complimenting the owner on his pain au chocolat, when he asked if we had been to their chocolate shop next door. I couldn't believe my ears. Have we walked past this place all these times without seeing it?
“Come here, I’ll show you”, he said, taking us two doors down to Buena Vista Chocolate & Wine.
Two years ago, the owners decided to open the place as an extension of the Buena Vista brand, upon realizing that Miami was lacking in the French artisanal chocolate department. The small shop boasts many different kinds of chocolate bars, bonbons and truffles, all made in house by the hands of owner and expert chocolatier, Claude Postel.
And when I say expert, I don't mean this lightly: Claude is a seventh generation chocolate maker, with recipes that have been handed down for centuries, back from when his relatives used to make chocolate for the royal family in France.
The man has over 1,000 recipes, all very unique, and not exactly the kind that you can find at Godiva, if you know what I mean.
Case in point: the curry bonbon. “This is one of our most famous ones, it dates back to the times of King Louis XIII,” explained co-founder, Cory Finot. “Back then, cacao and curry used to be some of the most expensive food ingredients in the country, so Claude’s family came up with a recipe that mixed both, as a way to show the wealth of the king.”
At that point, Cory offered me a small, round chocolate truffle. I bit into it. The brittle shell split open with a satisfying crack, revealing a melty, smooth ganache filling. “This is what real truffles taste like in France,” said Cory, proudly, making me seriously question if I have ever had a proper truffle in my life. (Answer: probably not!)
And then there’s other favorite bonbons like the Absinthe (delicately balanced with dark chocolate and lime flavors), Nutella (a thin milk chocolate layer, filled with a Nutella ganache), and the Coco Chanel (filled with chocolate, lavender and honey). The best part? They are all available for just $1.50 a pop!
Just when I thought this place couldn’t be more heavenly, I stepped into the back room where the chocolate is made, which so happens to also be a wine cellar with over 200 handpicked, boutique wines… All very well priced. Got 10 or 15 bucks? You can get a pretty nice Rose here. Got $25? Treat yourself to a fancy bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pape (if you are into wine, you probably know that’s a steal!). Not sure what to pick? Join one of their free wine tastings, happening every other Thursday in the evening, and have your pick.
Next time you are in the Buena Vista neighborhood, whether you are craving some seriously good chocolate, or looking for a great bottle of wine, make sure to stop by this place. You will not be disappointed!