All week long, we are bringing you LOCAL Deals of the Day for things like food, clothes, spas and more! This first one is a sweet treat!
Where can you get fine European-style, international award-winning chocolate? The answer is right here in Arizona! XO Confections is teaming up with us for a Smart Shopper Deal of the Day!
XO Confections was created by Jason Wasser about six years ago. He was active duty in the Army and is now with the Arizona National Guard. When he was little, Jason visited his father, who was in the Army in Germany, tried European chocolate and fell in love. He searched to find that type of chocolate in Arizona, but decided to create his own!
His mother Marla Wasser is running the company right now because Jason is being deployed back to Afghanistan.
Marla told us that Jason is self-taught. She shared, "He just got a book. He didn't go to culinary school... He learned how to do it." You would probably guess him to be a pastry chef or chocolatier! Jason now has trained culinary students working for him.
The chocolates are freshly made in small batches with whole ingredients. "Takes a little longer, but this way, we know the quality is going to be preserved," Marla shared with pride. Jason also has very high standards. Any chocolate that doesn't come out perfectly, known as "less than beautiful", won't make it on a shelf.
They have all kinds of flavors and ganaches that are smooth and melt in your mouth. Jason is constantly coming up with new innovations. Marla shared, "the strawberry with balsamic vinegar is an International Silver Award Winner at the last International Chocolate Affaire; The bananas foster is a bronze winner."
The modeled pieces are all hand-painted, usually with an airbrush, using colored cocoa powder. All of the square pieces come on a transfer sheet of cocoa butter. Jason uses his artistic ability to design some himself, and other designs are picked out to represent the flavors inside.
They say, "it's art for your mouth. It tastes just as good as it looks." I say, even better! How is that possible? Take a bite for yourself! Plus, they never use unnatural preservatives or artificial flavors.
Now, you probably think XO stands for hugs and kisses, but XO Confections was originally Xocolatl, the Mayan word for chocolate. So, they made it XO for short.
THE DEAL: Score half off the 18-count boxes (normally $40, but now $20 for you), and half off the nine-count boxes (normally $22, but now $11)! There is a limit of two boxes each at our rate.
There are two locations for you to visit. You have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday to get the discount. Call or go to the store and mention Smart Shopper, or go online and enter the promo code: smartshopper (case sensitive)
IF YOU GO:
4225 N. Marshall Way
This location is closed on Monday
XO Confections Kitchen
2320 W. Peoria Ave
This location is open Monday and Tuesday
More of The Beginnings:
First, Jason decided he would surprise his grandmother with this fine chocolate for her 75th birthday. He didn't think they were pretty enough for her, so he made near-perfection his next mission.
He started making chocolates in her kitchen, and six years later, now has his own kitchen and a storefront, international awards, and frankly, some of the most beautiful pieces of chocolate we have ever seen. They say, "it's art for your mouth. It tastes just as good as it looks."
Marla told us that grandma loved the chocolates then, and loves them now. She said that grandma tells them, "I'm sorry! It's just too pretty to eat!" Marla says, "Take a picture, and have at it because it won't last forever."
The cocoa grows close to the equator, so they take the ingredients from specific locations and use them based on where they were planted and what flavors they'll take on, whether that be nutty or fruity.
He carefully creates them so one flavor never overpowers another or the chocolate.
Marla gave us a short history lesson while we were there. She said that the Mayans originally started the chocolate craze, and Europeans added the sugar to make it less bitter. The Mayans and Aztecs would take the cocoa beans and put them in water, calling it "bitter water". Interestingly, Wasser means water in German, so Jason has been connected to chocolate since birth.
Sounds like destiny! And you're destined to get a great deal on these great-tasting treats. You're welcome!