About a month ago we received a flurry of notifications from a new dessert restaurant in St Augustine called Creme de la Cocoa. We put it at the top of our list to visit because the pictures of their decadent desserts were visually stunning and we have some dangerous sweet tooths amongst us. Creme de la Cocoa is run by husband and wife team Nils and Bailey Rowland. Nils is the pastry chef and chocolatier and Bailey runs all their marketing and event management. Between the two, they have years in the hospitality industry and understand that developing a new brand means hard work, dedication, and a seriously amazing product. They’ve accomplished all that in just a short few weeks of being open in their new shared location with Dos Coffee and Wine on San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine.
Address: 300 San Marco Ave, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Phone: (904) 466-9499
When we walked into Dos, Chef Nils immediately greeted us while we stared in awe at the shiny case of desserts. Nils and Bailey offered to take us back into their kitchen for samples and of course we readily accepted that challenge. What struck me immediately was how proud Nils and Bailey are of their new business. Their creative passion is contagious. Each description of every dessert and the inspiration behind it was a joy for them to tell us. Chef Nils started by laying out an assortment of chocolates for us to try that were NEARLY too pretty to eat. The chocolates were so well formed that they looked like blown glass with vivid colors and perfect shapes. Our flavor sampler included banana curry, caramel apple, salted caramel, orange vanilla with a dark chocolate shell, and cinnamon whiskey fireball. The caramel apple and salted caramel flavors were as pure, simple, and comforting as they sound. For the more adventurous palette, the banana curry and the fireball chocolates gave us a spicy sweet combination that seamlessly blended. My personal favorite was the orange vanilla dark chocolate that balanced the bitter chocolate with the sweet Florida orange flavor that we all love.
Following our chocolate sampler, Nils brought us cup after cup of their petite treats that are the perfect size to order multiples. I loved this presentation. More and more restaurants are serving gigantic portion sizes of single desserts. That works well if you’re truly committed to one treat, but why have one when you can have four? The cute cups are only around $3 each and every dessert is dramatically different in flavor, texture, and presentation. We sampled the Peachy Keen, the Southern Belle, the English Gentleman, the Datil Be It, the Midnight Expresso, and the Florida Native. I wish I could recommend one stand out item but these desserts were all incredible in their own right. The Peachy Keen and the Southern Belle captured the essence of everything southern with the traditional flavors of peach cobbler and pecan pie. The Datil Be It uses a fusion of local datil pepper into orange marmalade, pound cake, and dark chocolate ganache covered in candied hazelnuts. This is a spicy and tangy dessert for those without as much of a sweet tooth. The Midnight Expresso is designed for all those coffee lovers out there and could be consumed by the gallon it is so addictive. To arrive at my favorite, and by far the most unique of the petite line, is the English Gentleman. The cake is almost an afterthought in this dessert because it is layered with this delectable combination of pears and plums cooked in pinot noir. I wish I could better describe the intensity of the flavors in this dish, but there just aren’t words for how the sweetness of the fruit balances out the robust flavors of the wine. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it and I’ve been craving it non stop since I scraped the last bite of it out of the cup.
Naturally, after two courses of desserts we needed a third course of macarons to complete the evening. I am a macaron fanatic. Chef Nils’ macarons met all my requirements and more for a 5 star macaron. The cookies themselves were light and dissolved as soon as I bit into them. The filling on each macaron was packed with flavor and left us with no guesswork as to which flavor macaron we had eaten. These flavors change daily, but our strawberry macaron was light and mildly sweet, the chocolate rich and smooth, and the salted caramel had the perfect balance of salt. Macarons are only $1.50 per cookie which is the best price I have found on them anywhere in the area.
To say we are raving fans of Creme de la Cocoa is probably the understatement of the year. They have a huge variety of desserts that address every flavor profile you could ever want, from sweet to savory and a dozen options in between. Typically with a start up business we expect there to be room for improvement, but Nils and Bailey already have Creme de la Cocoa set at a level close to perfection. From the ultimate customer service experience to some of the most unique flavors you will have anywhere in Northeast Florida, Creme de la Cocoa is a new favorite in our book.
From time to time we are invited out to restaurants to check out what the have to offer. Obviously when a restaurant knows we’re coming we get a different experience than if we walked in off the street so we try to dive deeper into reviewing the food and overall feel. This review was an invitation.