While we were perfectly content to relax poolside every single day in Palm Springs, we did plan one day trip to a town called Idyllwild. A friend had recommended Idyllwild as a great place to hike and told us to be sure to stop in the town center and find El Buen Cacao, a bean to bar chocolate shop.
It took about one hour to drive from Palm Springs to Idyllwild, which is in the San Jacinto mountains. We parked at the entrance to the Deer Springs Trail and walked about a mile and a half before we reached a sign saying we couldn't go any further without a permit. Though our hike was short, the views were beautiful and we found many photo opportunities along the way.
We hopped back into the car and headed for the center of town. As we turned into the commercial area I couldn't believe my eyes. It looked like an entire village made of Lincoln Logs!
We found a parking space very easily and ducked into Higher Grounds for a cold drink. Refreshed and recharged, we went out in search of chocolate. We were so glad our friend told us about El Buen Cacao (and we could look up the address) because it's not easy to see from the street. It's down an alley way with a few other shops, all the way at the end.
You spot the porch first, with an arrow pointing toward chocolatey deliciousness.
The porch is an absolutely gorgeous place to sit outside and enjoy that crisp, fresh, mountain air.
Inside, the shop is small. There was just enough room for the five us to stand in a clump. On the wall is a list of drinks with everything from Mexican hot chocolate to sipping chocolate to cacao tea.
The bakery case displayed rows and rows of chocolate truffles. I tried not to drool on the glass.
There were also trays of chocolate bark. How good does this hazelnut one look?
Though I wasn't hungry while were in the shop, I knew I would regret it if I didn't try at least a few of their creations, so I picked out four truffles and took them to go. I went with coconut, raspberry, hazelnut and caramel.
While my truffles were being boxed up, we got to chatting with the owners, Erik and Jessica. They were wonderful hosts, answering all of our questions about their process, flavors and where we might have a prayer of finding them outside of California. We also got to meet their daughter, Sofia, who they call "the CEO." Too cute.
I didn't wind up eating my chocolate until two days later, but holy cow was it delicious. The caramel truffle was far and away my favorite. After tasting all four flavors, I wished I had just gotten four of the caramel truffles!
If you're ever in Idyllwild, be sure to visit El Buen Cacao for a drink or a treat and take in the atmosphere on their peaceful patio.