Here’s something you’re probably not aware of: The Paris Las Vegas space formerly occupied by the Sugar Factory bistro has been overhauled into Hexx, a restaurant, shop and craft chocolate maker. The double X doesn’t denote an adult experience but rather the Roman numeral 20, a nod to the longitudinal lines above and below the equator between which cacao trees naturally grow. It’s a subtle notation of how serious these people are about their chocolate.
In a showcase kitchen in the back of Hexx’s retail space, chefs Matt Silverman (formerly of Vintner Grill fame) and Matt Piekarski (who stayed on from the Sugar Factory switch-up) have developed a complicated but impressive process that takes them from bean to bar. “No one’s doing it,” Silverman says. “It’s new, and it’s interesting.”
Whole cacao beans are sorted onsite for quality purposes, with the unfit cast aside. Approved beans are roasted and mechanically shelled to separate the nibs, which are then melted down in granite grinders, where they remain for three days. Halfway through, the only other ingredient in Hexx’s chocolate gets added: coconut palm sugar. The resulting mixture is molded and aged for about three weeks, mellowing the chocolate. The product is melted again, tempered and molded, to arrive at the finished delicious bars.
Hexx offers chocolates from Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar and Tanzania, and the team hopes to have selections from 15 different locales by the end of 2016. The nuanced flavor differences are pronounced from bean to bean. The Tanzanian tastes practically like chocolate-covered cherries; the Madagascar beans are decidedly lemony. My favorite is the nutty Ecuadorian, but you don’t have to take my word for it—free tastings are available during normal business hours. What are you waiting for?
Hexx Paris, 702-331-5551. 24/7.