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Sweetest Sweetshop 

Bittersweet

Have you ever been disappointed at a restaurant by a fancy chocolate dessert with a name like "Death by Chocolate"? Well, Bittersweet, the new chocolate cafe on College Avenue near Diesel bookstore, has understated its name. By your second sip of its European hot chocolate, which doesn't contain a drop of dairy, you might feel part of your brain going numb. Luckily, the cafe keeps pitchers of ice water at the ready for patrons overcome by that beverage, or the pain au chocolat, pot de crème, thickly iced chocolate cinnamon cake, and other wicked sins made on the premises by pastry chef Bonnie Rostan. Elegant candy bars and confections by such artists as Michael Recchiuti, Fran's Chocolates of Seattle, and Michel Cluizel line the walls and fill the glass case. You can even buy yourself an organic chocolate facial mask by Ecco Bella, an environmentally friendly cosmetics company. If you really can't stand another bite of chocolate, the steel-cut Irish oatmeal will cure what ails you. After that, you'll be ready for another chocolate macaron. They're serious.

Readers' Pick:
Sweet Dreams
2901 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-549-1211

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