The second weekend of November, my wife and I had the chance to visit Seville with a two befriended couples. As it was a pure citytrip, we mainly went to check out the atmosphere is this wonderful city in southern Spain.
But I can never go somewhere without looking for chocolate. Just the idea of discovering new chocolate makers or products is enough to make my heart skip a beat. So I reached out to the international bean-to-bar chocolate scene, to see what I couldn’t miss chocolate wise.
Through the magic of the world wide web, in no time I got several recommendations by local chocolate lovers. But the news wasn’t good. Seville isn’t home to a lively chocolate scene. Somehow, it is a dark spot in a world full of bright chocolate makers.
During a walk into an official tourist information point, I found some Amatller chocolate bars. Bean-to-bar chocolate maker from Barcelona. Happy as a kid I walk out of the store with an Ecuador bar, but outside it turned out to be bloomed terribly. I walked back to the store to switch the bar, but they all turned out bloomed – so I got a refund and a lot of apologies. I guess the summer in southern Spain is brutal on chocolate if it isn’t stored correctly. Such a pity.
However, two people in the Well Tempered facebook group, told me I really needed to check out “Ocumare”. A chocolate bar offering very nice deserts and cold chocolate drinks. The ladies in my group were convinced instantly, so on Saturday we went out to see just why it is recommended.
Ocumare isn’t situated in the tourist center of the old town. As I followed Google maps’ indications, the roads took us further and further away from the lively shopping streets and vivid squares. Of the old city center, We walked streets where no-one else was around. Until we reached Calle Carmen – a small and quiet street. Smack in the middle, there was a modern looking bar in trendy black and white. We had found it.
No trace of tourists inside. Only Spanish locals enjoying delicate chocolate treats. We sat down and looked around. The chocolate bar had the feel of a trendy coffee bar, with a large map with cocoa origins, a large bar and design black chairs and tables.
We made ourselves comfortable and noted the place was run by two guys. One in the bar and one in the kitchen space, who popped out from time to time to serve his creations. The waiter didn’t speak English and excused himself for not having an English menu. They are in the making. I don’t speak Spanish, but the menu speaks for itself. I saw names such as Criollo and Porcelana, origins like Madagascar, Venezuela, Peru… enough to sparkle my interest. On the front of the menu, Valrhona – Amedei – Pacari and HeiE are mentioned. This is clearly not your average chocolatier.
I went for an Espuma Cru made with Criollo beans from Madagascar. However the waiter told me it’s not made with Criollo but Trinitario beans, excusing himself for the printing mistake. We visited Ocumare after a copious tapas lunch at noon, so I feared the chocolate desert would be a bit to much for my stomach. The cup I received wasn’t exactly small either. I screwed off the lid and dove in with my spoon. In my mouth it translated into the lightest and most delicate “mousse” I ever experienced. But the flavor explosion overwhelmed me even more. All the precious flavor notes I love in Madagascan cocoa were present. Roasted chocolate nuttiness, lively citrus and red fruits. Smokey woody end flavors. And an aftertaste which kept on rolling in the mouth. So good, I refused to take a sip of water served with the deserts, fearing it would kill the rolling flavors.
My friends who aren’t to familiar with origin chocolate, chose deserts where several ingredients (caramel, cinnamon,…) were combined with the chocolate to wonderful looking cups. Even though these were a bit to sweet for my liking, I noticed how every mentioned ingredient came clearly to the palate as an ever evolving dance of flavors. I sign that the creator knows what he is doing and that a lot of effort went into his creations.
After a while I noticed the guy form the kitchen walking out. Overwhelmed by what I experienced, I walked up to him, showing him just how exactly I had found him on my smart phone. He was so thrilled to see that he was recommended by local people, he called his colleague to tell him all about it. He was even more amazed to see I write about origin chocolate and from that moment on it was like a floodgate that opened. Jose Ramón Utrera Campos (the chef) and I kept talking in some sort of hand and feet conversation on the marvels of origin chocolate and how boring industrial chocolate can be. When he found out I am Belgian, he was even more amazed. Thanks to a lady friend of him, the conversation became easier as she talked English and could translate what I was trying to say. What an amazing encounter this was. Jose Ramón is clearly very passionate about real chocolate and a flavor wizard in general.
If ever you are in Seville, don’t hesitate for a second. Do yourself a favor and go to Ocumare and indulge yourself in the wonderful flavors Jose Ramón brings to your table and tongue. You won’t regret it.
One more tip from insiders for people who have a heart for coffee next to chocolate. Seville is home to a small batch coffee roaster called Torch. The warm decorated bar offers their own roasted origin coffees (Origins like Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala), brewed in Chemex, V60, French press or Aeropress – next to espresso and latte drinks. The shop, owned by Sara and Victoria Parish even gives you a view on the roasting process of the coffee in a small, separated room. Wonderful flavors in the cup are guaranteed! Another gem In Seville.
As colorful and warm as the city is, these bright stars in flavor really added magic to the visit for me. I’ll gladly return in the future.