Credit: Derek Hatfield

Mayana Chocolate

Mayana Chocolate makes the best bonbons you probably never heard of. Private chef Daniel Herskovic started the sideline to create parting gifts for his catering customers, but the gemlike confections have become his passion. All-natural ingredients including 15-odd varieties of chocolate go into close to 30 different pieces ranging from the popular Passion Fruit hearts, airbrushed with vibrant red and yellow cocoa butter, to the many one- or two-layered squares (of ganache, nougat, marzipan, fruit pâte, etc) enrobed in chocolate and decorated with fine-lined multicolored patterns. (I’m crazy about the Mayan Spice, dark chocolate ganache with cinnamon, ancho chile, and cayenne pepper.) His chocolates should become better known soon, because Herskovic is planning a retail location in Andersonville (5410 N. Clark), where he promises “everything chocolate,” including bonbons, desserts, and a hot-chocolate bar. He hopes to open in September; meanwhile, you can find Mayana Chocolate on the dessert menu at Rootstock (954 N. California) or order it online.

The name, by the way, comes from the totally unrelated Mayana plant; it just happened to be next to a cocoa blossom in an online photo gallery, and Herskovic thought it sounded exotic.