If chocolate is a token of love — consensus: yes — then D.C. chefs are awfully fond of us. They churn out treats draped in ganache and cream puffs, mousse and icing, always icing — sometimes triple-layered. The technical description, one imagines, is chocolate on chocolate (on chocolate). Here are six locally available concoctions that are so irresistible, they’ll make all that other chocolate seem, well, vanilla.
Saint Honoré at Un Je Ne Sais Quoi
This classic French dessert is named for Saint Honoratus, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, and was first made around 1847 at a Parisian pastry shop. Un Je Ne Sais Quoi’s version features a base of flaky dough piled with chocolate cream-filled puffs, chocolate whipped cream and chocolate icing. It’s airy, crunchy and silky, and the various textures fuse into a well-balanced, not-too-sweet treat. If you’re still not satiated, the Dupont Circle bakery offers a rotating array of chocolate desserts that are almost too pretty to eat, such as a chocolate tart with raspberry puree or a white chocolate merveilleux. $6.90. 1361 Connecticut Ave NW.
Tartufo nero at Lupo Verde Osteria
If this were a competitive baking show, the tartufo nero at Lupo Verde Osteria would make a convincing play for presentation and complexity points. Dark chocolate mousse is stuffed with saffron cream and put on top of an almond cookie, with a pool of salted caramel sauce underneath. Tempered chocolate cut into abstract shapes and sprinkled with edible gold dust is carefully positioned around and, like a seesaw, on top of the mousse — with chocolate caramel ganache as its fulcrum. Corporate pastry chef Dayron Santamaria rounds it out with three splashes of honey-flavored truffle oil, a meringue shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss and red-green sorrel, an herb topped with 24-karat edible gold. The dessert takes Santamaria, who grows increasingly animated describing his creation — “I have crunchy, I have creamy, I have mousse-y!” — two days to prepare. $16. 4814 MacArthur Blvd NW.
Nutella calzone at 7th Hill Pizza
When someone orders a Nutella calzone at 7th Hill Pizza — not an infrequent occurrence — Bob Pick, who co-owns the Palisades branch, says he turns into a little cartoon character with wings, chasing the scent of the dessert he introduced nine years ago. The calzone is made out of eight-inch pizza dough that’s stuffed with Nutella, baked in an 800-degree wood-fired oven and then topped with powdered sugar. It’s extremely hot when served, allowing plenty of time to devise a plan of attack. The calzone is large enough for a table of four to share, and Pick says customers often ask him how to best reheat it later. Perhaps it’s his duty to supply an answer, he muses, but he’s never had any left over. $6.50 at the Eastern Market location (327 Seventh St. SE); $8.50 at the Palisades location (4885 MacArthur Blvd. NW).
Dark chocolate “cheesecake” at Equinox
At last, validation for anyone who’s ever insisted that chocolate can be healthful: This decadent dessert is plant-based, raw and gluten-free. Equinox pastry chef Brandi Edinger whips up a crust of lightly toasted pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts, plus dried figs and dates. The filling is a combination of ripe avocados, cocoa powder, agave and a pinch of salt, blended until it’s thick and creamy and then steamed in coconut oil. After an hour of cooling, the “cheesecake” is ready: silky mouthfuls that alternate between crunchy and creamy, sweet and salty. It’s served with coconut sorbet, Morello cherries and a toasted sesame brittle. $12. 818 Connecticut Ave NW.
Death by Chocolate brownie sundae at Farmers Fishers Bakers
Five (edible) gold stars to whoever’s naming the dishes at this Georgetown restaurant. The Death by Chocolate brownie sundae consists of three warm, made-from-scratch brownies that are topped with rich chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, whipped cream and chocolate cake crumbles. So, yes. Death by the good stuff. The flavor of the ice cream is intense, with a noticeable touch of caramel. (Sister restaurant Farmers & Distillers swaps in two devil’s food doughnuts for the brownies in its sundae.) $9.50. 3000 K St NW.
Exotic chocolate bar at Plume
To all the chocolate bars we’ve loved before: Sorry, but this one’s a real sweet talker. The “exotic” treat resembles an elegant, oversize candy bar and is available only as part of the prix-fixe menu at Plume, the main dining room in the Jefferson hotel. The first layer is banana bread, covered with passion fruit-dark chocolate cream and dipped in a white chocolate/coconut glaze. The next layer is milk chocolate cremeux infused with tonka beans, topped with crispy coconut sugar. The bar is served with raisins that have been soaked in dark rum, plus fruit-based candies, passion-fruit crisp and coconut milk sorbet. The dark chocolate curbs some of the passion fruit’s sweetness, and the milk and white chocolates balance the rum-soaked raisins. Prix-fixe menu, $106. 1200 16th St. NW.