Friday, April 21, 2006

NYC Chocolate Meetup

Thanks to chocolate critic and chocophile Clay Gordon and, a slightly nerdy (nerd is the new sexy) phenomenon sweeping the nation that manages to inspire online communities of cyber geeks and Gen Xers to get off their arses and socialize, I was a part of the first ever Meetup for The NY Metro Chocolate Meetup Group. We met at Chocolat Michel Cluizel Boutique, a hidden oasis of haute chocolate and elixir. Surrounded by two restaurants, this best kept secret is the perfect place for dessert dating. For $15, I received tons of tips on chocolate tasting, history and production and best of all, enjoyed champagne with about 30 other chocolate enthusiasts. We all got to taste our choice of Michel Cluizel confections. I picked the Earl Grey with dark choccolate ganache as the little purple ship printed on the top appealed to my aesthetic senses. The Cluizel staff was very informed and suggested that I let the chocolate warm before tasting as the tea flavor is very subtle. In fact, we learned that all chocolate should be tasted above room temperature (at about 68-72 degrees as aromatics are generated when chocolate melts). The cocoa content originated from about 9 different plantations from all over the world and was at about 60%. The chocolate was hands down, the best I’ve had in quite awhile and blended with the bergamont flavor of Earl Grey perfectly. I also chose to taste the Madagascan dark chocolate ganache from the Palet Av Cacaos Des Pures Origines. It was simply divine: a rich, long lasting, mouth coating cocoa flavor with natural hints of tropical fruit. Additionally we received two mysterious dark chocolates shaped like little Easter eggs from Chuao for simultaneous group tasting. Turns out, they were infused with extra virgin olive oil, citrus peel and sundried tomato, which a few of us mistook for dried cherries upon first tasting. I found them to be surprisingly yummy. The beginning taste of olive oil and chocolate was complimentary and smooth and coated the tongue nicely. The not-so-subtle taste of sundried tomato was acidic and tangy without being unpleasant or salty. The citrus wasn’t so evident, but was more present in the lingering aftertaste. If you’re into chocolate, or just plain indulgence, and you're in town next month you should check it out, it's fun.


Cocoa-Nut said...

Everything you've mentioned about Cluziel and Mr. Gordon was great -And true! I also wanted to mention that the co-owners of the NYC Cluziel shop were well informed sans the snobbery you might expect from other premium chocolatiers.

They also give great recommendations: I left with a large bar ($6) of the "Concepcion" chocolate, a 60% single origin chocolate bar sourced from the beans of a Venezuelan farm. (Also the ganache filler in my chosen truffle, sprinkled with gold powder. Hey, I like it rich!)

I can't wait to head back to Cluziel for continued tastings. I mean, where else in the Union Square area can you get that happy for $15?!

Bill and Marge said... mouth is watering reading your blog. But tell me, have you heard of Xocai chocolate? The flavor is deep and rich, flavored with Acai and blueberries.

It is the richest source of antioxidants on the planet, since it is cold-pressed in a patented process so as not to kill the myriad benefits of the raw cacao.

All you Choolate Nerds will surely appreciate some serious good health along with your decadent indulgences. We eat chocolate at LEAST three times a day...(and we say it's for our health)!

Go take a look at our site. I'll be happy to send you some samples. You will be amazed!

One serious chocolate addict,
Marge (in Seattle)
Also check out!