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It Happens Here: Amesbury's M Cacao Chocolates Combines Flavors Most Haven't Tried

AMESBURY (CBS) - The team behind M Cacao on Chestnut Street in Amesbury is an unlikely pair.

Delphin Gomes is a master pastry chef, trained from the age of 12 in France and now a highly successful chef in America. Mike Nichols is a former robotics engineer who decided to take up a career in chocolate during a family trip to Peru when cacao bugs bit his legs.

"So I literally got bitten by the cacao chocolate bug," he told WBZ-TV.

They found each other when Mike enrolled in Chef Delphin's class and soon decided to start making their own chocolates. With their backgrounds, the team pairs the scientific method with a truly unique approach to chocolate - combining flavors that most haven't tried.

They call themselves "culinarily curious," experimenting with chocolates like opera cake or bourbon-pecan and caramels that taste of rose or fennel and oil. One of their chocolates is filled with locally grown honey and topped with actual pollen.

"What I'm looking for is they stop and they close their eyes and they have to stop for a minute because they're like in meditation," says Mike.

Chef Delphin, who taught Joanne Chang, the now-famous owner of Flour Bakery, puts his goal like this: "To keep going, to be more creative, to keep advancing instead of just sitting around and doing the same thing over and over again. That's what pastry is all about."

But M Cacao's most ambitious project of all is the "Tenth Circle Challenge," evoking Dante's Inferno. It's four of the hottest chile peppers in the world -- dipped in their world-class chocolate. Habanero, ghost, scorpion, reaper, each one spicier than the next.

The box comes with a padlock, so no children can make the mistake of eating them, and is accompanied by a warning: "You are nuts for trying this. Don't do it."

But it has touched off a buzz in the hot food-loving world. People have been coming from all over to try their hand at it.

For those who prefer not to test their mettle, M Cacao has launched Free Chocolate Fridays – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their location on Chestnut Street. You can learn more here.

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