Chocolate on my mind…
A chocolate tasting of five different chocolate purveyors in New York City.
Since 2002, Kee Ling Tong has been creating a lovely following for her chocolates. I met Kee at her small chocolate shop in Soho. She was friendly and informative and told me that she makes all her chocolates daily for the freshest quality. Wow. To tell the truth, I didn't know much about Kee’s Chocolate before entering the shop–just that they have a cute website. I highly recommend these chocolates with their fresh ingredients, melt-in-your-mouth ganache and absolutely no pretension. I enjoyed all the chocolates I sampled, but Black Sesame particularly knocked my socks off.
Black Sesame: dark chocolate truffles coated with white and black sesame seeds
Kaffir Lime: dark chocolate ganache with Kaffir lime coated in dark chocolate
Pignoli: dark chocolate truffle coated with pine nuts
Pistachio: white chocolate truffles coated with pistachios
La Maison Du Chocolat
Chantal Coady of Rococo Chocolates has called Robert Linxe the high priest of chocolatiers, I now understand why. If you are a chocolate lover. an aficionado or just a plain chocolate snob, I dare you not to like theses chocolates. The chocolates at La Maison Du Chocolat are, well, just plain awesome. Refined chocolates with classic flavours, subtlety infused in the smoothest, creamiest, ganache: what is there not to like? I enjoyed all of my sampled chocolates tremendously, but the Maïko and Cannelle put me into a chocolate coma. Mr. Linxe is clearly a master at creating some of the best chocolate I have ever eaten.
Maïko: ganache infused with fresh grated ginger
Cannelle: ganache infuse with cinnamon sticks
Yoko: a tea flavoured ganache
Figaro: hazelnut and almond praline wrapped in dark chocolate
The Michel Cluizel shop in New York is actually hidden inside ABC Carpet & Home. If you venture in, you will find lovely cases filled with chocolates displayed like fine jewelry. There is also a small bar, where for a fixed price you can try one of their chocolate tastings. Remember to make a reservation, as they are very particular. I have tried Michel Cluizel chocolates in the past and thought they were good; however, I have always felt unsure whether they were exceptional. After trying these new flavours, I can definitely say that I am a fan. The Mirabelle truffle and the Chestnut Honey were both delightful.
Côte-d’Or: a dark chocolate truffle with gold leaf
Mirabelle: a dark chocolate truffle with ganache and Mirabelle plum gelée
Almond and Orange Peel: almond paste mixed with orange peel coated in dark chocolate
Chestnut Honey: chestnut honey ganache coated in dark chocolate
The first time I tried chocolate from Richart was when my friend Dawne came back from a trip to Paris. Fortunately, she brought back and shared some of her chocolates with me. Thanks Dawne! The chocolates at Richart are well, beautiful. I don’t think anyone would contest that. Richart chocolates have a long history in Lyon, France. Two generations on, Michel Richart continues to create chocolates that are designed to develop and pursue the “Art of Tasting”. Most of the chocolates here are silk-screened with cool and colourful designs–sometimes almost too pretty to eat. They are of a high standard; however, I thought that the emphasis should have been placed a little more on the taste rather than the appearance. Do not get me wrong; these are good chocolates. The Apricot Coulis was lovely, and the Roasted Almond was very tasty. The other two chocolates I tried were, however, a bit too strong in liqueur for me. The petit Richart chocolates line is an excellent idea: these bite size chocolates are the perfect size for one small intense shot of chocolate.
Raisins soaked in Grand Cru Champagne: dark ganache with raisins soaked in Champagne coated in dark chocolate
Apricot Coulis: apricot coulis coated in white chocolate
Roasted Almond: milk chocolate ganache with roasted almonds coated in dark chocolate
Malt Ganache: dark ganache with Malt whiskey coated in dark chocolate
To say that the chocolates here are worldly is an understatement. Ever since Katrina Markoff opened Vosges, she has created quite a stir in terms of her approach to chocolate making. The chocolates here are globally inspired pairing exotic spices and flowers with high quality chocolate and craftsmanship. Vosges is chocolate for the new international palate. If you are open to new and unusual flavours not commonly found with most chocolatiers, give these chocolates a chance. Although I wasn’t crazy about all the flavours I tried, I especially liked Naga which was delicious.
Absinthe: Chinese star anise, fennel, pastis, dark chocolate and cocoa powder
Black Pearl: ginger, wasabi, dark chocolate and black sesame seeds
Naga: sweet Indian curry powder, coconut and milk chocolate
Oaxaca: guajillo and pasilla chilies with dark 75% Tanzanie chocolate and organic pumpkinseeds