Chic et Chocolat
When Vosges Haute Chocolat owner Katrina Markoff was studying at Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris, she spent time as an apprentice brewing up ‘chocolat chaud’ for the posh patrons of the Hotel Crillon. Fortunately for us, she brought her culinary expertise stateside and into to our homes. Her line of Couture Cocoa utilizes exotic ingredients such as lavender and lemon myrtle. I’m totally into La Parisienne, which is her authentic ‘chocolat chaud’. The superb quality pure dark chocolate and Tahitian vanilla bean laced cocoa mix is good enough to eat straight out of the box. And with a bit of know how, this couture cocoa transforms into a creamy, full bodied, heady cup of ‘chocolat chaud’ perfection. But I stress that this mix is not for the kitchen shy or cocoa slacker (the type that is happiest pouring hot water over instant powder) as just like true couture, god is in the details. I speak from experience. I’ve attempted the feat twice and taking a casual approach to preparation will end in disaster--i.e., unpleasant chunks of vanilla bean in your cup. Nevertheless, one sip of the properly prepared elixir and I instantly grew nostalgic for Paris so I shot over to Payard for croissants--I know, Lexington Avenue isn’t exactly Champs-Elysées but for now, it will have to do.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I was excited to find a brand new flavor from Haagen Dazs called Mayan Chocolate in my local supermarket freezer. According to the packaging, the sophisticated dark chocolate ice cream swirled with yummy fudge and cinnamon is: “Inspired by the original chocolate first created by ancient Mayans in 500 B.C.” It's great to see more and more brands respond to growing consumer interest in the history, production and taste of better chocolate. In the future, I hope to see Haagen Dazs phase out ingredients such as corn syrup, which unfortunately, this pint contains. Overall, the chocolate is rich and the cinnamon swirl adds a strong, almost espresso like complexity. I think it's quite nice although it would have been a more authentic experience if the ice cream actually contained chocolate from the Mayan region. Instead, it lists Dutched chocolate. I suppose the words “inspired by” are key here. Well, it’s the thought that counts and I'm sure the ancient ones would appreciate the shout out.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Last month while lurking around Jacques Torres’ windowed chocolate factory in TriBeCa, one of his well coifed oompa loompas tried to push the hot cocoa on me. Instead, a bag of milk-chocolate covered macadamias caught my eye. Apparently, he puts the unusually large nuts through a top-secret process that involves a mysterious crunch coating, yummy milk chocolate, and then a powdery substance that may very well be crack. After devouring my first bag, I found myself pushing them on every one I could, not excluding complete strangers. Since then, I’ve made my way through two 1 lb. tins and have had to reprimand my boyfriend for dipping into my supply. You have to try these! You’ll thank me. I’m your pusher...
Monday, March 27, 2006
Colorado based Chocolove wraps their candy bars like love letters. I’m totally into the faux stamp and seal and the excerpt from Shakespear’s Venus and Adonis printed inside. If you buy more chocolate, you get more poem. The poem is sweet, but clearly the 65% Belgian dark chocolate laced with crystallized Australian ginger takes center stage. I can’t wait to try more of their cocoa conscious bars.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Teuschair, a specialty box by Zürich based Teuscher is a design lover’s dream. 12 Swiss chocolate planes come in their own branded box. It’s the perfect keepsake for the design conscious man in your life. He’ll appreciate the slick little aircrafts and the distinguished blue box and you'll love the fact that it’s Teuscher. I got a kick out of biting off the wings. The subtle almond crunch is an unexpected treat but if you’re a cocoa purist beware as four of the planes come in white chocolate. I would show you what they look like but I kind of ate them all.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
I found the wackiest little candy bar at Chocolate Bar, an oasis of designer chocolate in New York’s Greenwich Village. If you’re just too cool to carry around a box of dorky Junior Mints, and too hip to hide Peppermint Patties in your purse, then this is the bar for you. Think classic mint and chocolate combo with a more sophisticated dark chocolate take. The weird little monsters on the wrapper, designed by artist David Horvath of Ugly Doll fame, are reminiscent of the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons. Along with the matching Choco+Minty toys that I found at davidhorvath.com, this bar is destined to be a hit among the design crowd and the young at heart. When you purchase a bar, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Third Street Music School Settlement, a children's arts education organization.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Last Call For Chocohol...ics
Spring is here, or so they say. For those of us on the East Coast it's not quite time to put down our parkas. So while there's still a recognizable chill, you may as well make the best of it and snuggle up with one last cup of cocoa. Make it worthwhile with Scharffenberger. I've tried a number of cocoas and I swear by the stuff. I spike mine with Voyant every once in a while for good measure. Both the sweetened and unsweetened are great, but I recommend the sweetened and a healthy dollop of whipped cream. I think you get my drift...