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Beating the Summer Heat Without Melting

How does a chocolate fan travel during the summer without contending with a bunch of melted chocolate? My initial plan was to bring cacao beans from home that I’ve roasted. Alas, in the flurry of getting everything in order for our two year old, the bag with the cacao beans inadvertently got left behind. But rather than seeing that as a bad thing, I figured it created an opportunity to go on an adventure to find chocolate on the road.

Thanks to a friend who let us use his beach house, we drove south to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast. On the back side of the main street in town was a quaint chocolate shop called the Cannon Beach Chocolate Cafe. Aside from the display cases filled with truffles and assorted confections made locally in the shop, there was a section of a wall that was home to an assortment of chocolate bars from around the world that caught my eye.

Although I do prefer 100% chocolate, it is not easy to come across something I haven’t already tried from a local shop. Consequently, I decided to focus on bars that were rather esoteric in my travels. I did a few double takes when I saw the RÓZSAVÖLGYI CSOKOLÁDÉ CHOCOLATE BEER VS. COCOA 73% bar. I’ve seen it before and the comical image always made me giggle. Yet, for some reason it seemed like an appropriate item for this particular trip and thus it ended up leaving the shop with me in a cute black and white polka dot bag.

While that trip was the result of a friend’s generous blessing, those with children will understand what I mean when I say that there are those times when you go to places so your children can have a fun and new experience. Our drive up north to the Great Wolf Lodge was for that very purpose.

On the way up we needed to find a place to eat before my two year old was past her normal lunch time. Thankfully we found the Tiki Tap House (Island-Inspired Pizza & Pints) in Centralia just in time.

I didn’t know what to expect from a place named the “Tiki Tap House”, but it certainly lived up to its name. I’ve never seen so many tikis in a restaurant, not even back in Hawaii. The pizza was some of the best that I’ve had in a while, and they had quite the selection of drinks on tap and in bottles and cans.

One of my favorite chocolate combinations is chocolate and coconut. So when I came across the description of “My Deception Coconut Porter” (from Mt. Olympus brewery in Aberdeen, WA) that claimed it was “Almond joy and a glass!” I had to give it a try. And what do you know, it was an accurate description!

Jordan Peabody, one of the owners of the establishment, also recommended Tierra del Sol Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout (from Gigantic brewery in Portland, OR). Although the ABV was 12.5%, it didn’t taste like it or have the heaviness you might associate with a beverage of that ABV. It had the right amount of body to make it quite refreshing, as well as a balanced blend of chocolate and chili to be thirst quenching and satisfying. Alas, on this hot day that beverage didn’t last long enough to even get its picture taken.

Now that everyone had a full tummy we were all set to drive the rest of the distance to our final destination - the Great Wolf Lodge. Although there was no shortage of sweets to get your kids hopped up on sugar at this amusement water park, there were no craft chocolate bars to be found. But just like any amusement park, the Great Wolf Lodge would not be complete without their own selection of themed treats. So I selected the one item with the most chocolate for the family to share - their fudge bear paw.

So how do you beat the summer heat without a bunch of melting chocolate when you’ve forgotten to bring your cacao beans? You alter your expectations and go with the flow as you are bound to find chocolate in various forms along your journey. Enjoy the rest of your summer and enjoy the chocolate you find in even the most unusual places!

Cannon Beach Chocolate Cafe:

Great Wolf Lodge at Grand Mound:

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