Cao Chocolates of Miami

I had the pleasure of meeting Ricardo Trillos and his wife Anelith Ortega in November, 2014, when I was in Miami to accept a Readers’ Favourite Award for volume I of Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. I’d met “Cao” (as he is fondly called) via Twitter, and was impressed at the way he’s been using social media to get the word out about his chocolate and increase the public’s knowledge about his world of fine chocolate. Cao loves wine as much as he loves chocolate, and has been doing special chocolate and wine pairing events for his customers to enhance their appreciation for and understanding of a pairing when it’s done right.

Ricardo of Cao Chocolates is a true master of chocolate.

Ricardo Trillos of Cao Chocolates is an astute businessman and a true master of chocolate.

Cao Chocolates of Miami create terrific bean-to-bar chocolate

Cao and Anelith are originally from Venezuela, and moved to the US in 2004. He was an accountant by trade, and has a certificate in Human Resources, and calls himself an “accidental chocolate maker” when he had to get creative in finding ways to use up a 10-pound chocolate bar he’d received as a gift. “I got inspired by the movie, Chocolat, and wanted to be able to get the same reaction from people as the chocolatier in the movie got from the mayor.”

Through books and experimentation, Cao taught himself to make chocolate. And, wow! He taught himself well, as the chocolate creations at Cao Chocolates are simply amazing. Whether you like your chocolate pure and dark in a bar, you enjoy the sensual pleasures of chocolate truffles and ganaches, or you’re looking for something more playful in the form of chocolate confections, you’ll find a great selection in the tiny chocolate shop located in the Dadeland neighbourhood of Miami.

Cao and Anelith have done a tremendous job in building their chocolate business.

Cao and Anelith have done a tremendous job in building their chocolate business. Photo credit: Christine Peets

My friend Christine and I were treated to a wide array of Cao Chocolates and I quickly fell in love with the Dark Desires, the pistachio truffles made from a blend of crushed American and Italian pistachios that cover a pure chocolate ganache made of 73% Caranero Venezuelan cocoa beans.

The Dark Desires at Cao Chocolates are amazing.

The Dark Desires at Cao Chocolates are one of the best chocolate creations I have tasted.

I was extremely sad when I finished the last one. I guess I’ll just have to make a return trip to Miami. But if you’re lucky enough to live in Miami, you can get hand delivery of fresh chocolates to your door, and if you live in the US, you can order online.

As Cao and Anelith are of Venezuelan heritage Cao originally worked primarily with cocoa beans from Venezuela. But he also experiments with other origins, and is continually expanding the list of chocolate specialties you’ll find at Cao Chocolates. Do drop by when you’re in Miami. You have my recommendation.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

19 Responses

  1. It was indeed a pleasure to meet Cao and Anelith that day, and sample their wonderful chocolate. I learned what you meant when you’d talked about a “chocolate high” because I definitely had one that day.
    It was fun watching you “in action” and I’ll gladly accompany you again as you continue “Chocolatouring.”
    Christine Peets recently posted…“Sisters” who travel–and blogMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment, Christine, and thanks again for joining me on the Chocolatour to Miami! It was definitely insightful meeting Cao and learning of his chocolate philosophy. He really takes the world of chocolate seriously, and it shows in his work as his chocolate is top quality and highly creative. I feel so fortunate to be able to meet the world’s top chocolate makers and chocolatiers, and to see what differentiates one from the other.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a decadent diversion at Pearson International AirportMy Profile

  2. Cao sounds like my kind of guy… Pairing wines and chocolate. Yum. Two of my all time favorite delights! I love nuts and chocolate so the pistachio chocolate treats look divine and worth a trip to Miami just for those. 🙂
    Susan cooper recently posted…Folie à Deux Chardonnay: #WineMy Profile

  3. Chris says:

    Great to see the new merged site up and running, looks great!

    I guess you had to eat those pistachio chocolate balls so quickly so they didn’t melt in the Miami heat! 😉
    Chris recently posted…Mindo: The day that (almost) never wasMy Profile

    • Hi Chris and thx for your positive feedback on the new design.

      Yes, it’s ironic that chocolate (i.e. cocoa) grows in the hottest areas of the planet (10-20 degrees north or south of the equator) and so keeping chocolate from melting can surely be a problem. That’s why most chocolate shops are air-conditioned, or if in open-air tropical locales such as Caribeans in Costa Rica, have a cooled room in which to store their chocolate.

      Regarding the Dark Desires, I think the nuts help keep them from melting quickly, as opposed to a solid piece of chocolate or pure chocolate truffle that doesn’t have a coating to protect it from the heat.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Sisterhood of the World BloggersMy Profile

  4. Oh my goodness. Chocolate AND wine…. together?! This sounds like my idea of heaven. Almost worth flying to Miami for alone. Next time i’m over that side of the world I will definitely swing by. I’m with Phoenicia though… he’s got a new customer if he delivers to the UK ;). Great post!
    Gabby @ recently posted…36 Hours on the Mighty MekongMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment, Gabby, and welcome to my blog! Yes, chocolate and wine are happy partners. I’m thrilled to be arranging chocolate and wine pairing events and surprisingly, chocolate also pairs nicely with other libations. It’s so adaptable! See my response to Phoenicia regarding overseas chocolate shipments. Cheers!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Sisterhood of the World BloggersMy Profile

  5. Phoenicia says:

    Ooh chocolate!

    I would have fun selecting my chocolate box. I like nothing better than biting into different pieces wondering what flavours I will find.

    I wonder if he delivers to the UK!
    Phoenicia recently posted…Five reasons why you need a mentorMy Profile

    • Hi Phoenicia. No, unfortunately I don’t think Cao Chocolates will ship overseas. Very few chocolate makers will, as fresh chocolate has such a short shelf life. You can often order world chocolate bars from different sites as chocolate bars have a shelf life of a year and sometimes more. But when you’re talking about fresh chocolates, usually a shelf life of under one month. You are fortunate to live in the UK, as you have an amazing selection of excellent chocolatiers to choose from.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Sisterhood of the World BloggersMy Profile

  6. I am often an ‘accidental chocolate eater’ – what a pleasure to read!
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Two Scots Abroad Blogging Award NominationsMy Profile

  7. It sounds like Cao did a great job of teaching himself. I like the idea of chocolate and wine pairing sessions.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Hermetic Secrets at the Manitoba Legislative BuildingMy Profile

    • Hi, Donna. Yes, I think the fact that Cao is self-taught has made him just that more passionate about his chocolate products, and the world of chocolate in general. I really enjoyed hearing his philosophy and tasting his chocolates.

      And yes! Chocolate and wine pairing events are something that I am now doing with great enthusiasm. Be sure to pass on my name to any groups or companies you know who may wish to hire me.

  8. One more reason to visit Miami soon!!!
    Very interesting to know that he keeps his roots working with Venezuelan cacao… I’m sure the chocolate creations ar delicious…
    Natalie Deduck recently posted…Sports in Catalunya » Adrenaline from Pyrenees to Costa BravaMy Profile

  9. Wow. This looks like an amazing chocolate experience. I\’m going to be in Miami later this year so will check it out.

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