Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chocolate Humidor
During the summer months, I place my chocolate in the fridge so that the precious goods won't melt. Eureka! The geniuses at Montreal's Chocolat 15-18 offer this ultra modern, unabashedly functional humidor to keep your treasured estate chocolates at 15-18 degrees celsius, the perfect temperature for preserving chocolate year round.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Matcha Madness
Meiji's Matcha Melty Kiss, imported Japanese confections made of matcha green tea and dark chocolate, certainly live up to their name. The delicate cocoa dusted coating gently dissolves on your tongue to reveal a creamy kiss of bitter green tea. While matcha is traditionally enjoyed in the Japanese tea ceremony without sugar or milk, here the chocolate adds the perfect touch of body and sweetness. The now trendy combination of chocolate and green tea has caught the attention of chocolatiers, tea enthusiasts and the antioxidant obsessed. In fact, Vosges Haute Chocolat and Bobbi Brown cosmetics are launching a matcha chocolate beauty bar in July.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Pump It Up
As Ralph Lauren’s former Chef, Ilene C. Shane of SweetBliss learned a thing or two. Her fabulous Pumps & Purses, handcrafted from Belgian dark chocolate are filled with a ribbon of creamy caramel and embellished with seasonal designs. At one pound per pair, it’d be wise to share, which is why they’d make the perfect centerpiece for your next cosmo affair.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Recchiuti--The Flavor of Frisco
San Francisco based chocolatier Michael Recchiuti recently tapped Brian Barneclo, a local muralist who has been painting the town for a decade, to expand his artistic vision to chocolate. Barneclo’s chocolate designs are inspired by the historic Mission District--known for it’s ecclesial beginnings, vibrant murals, and Latin flavor. Crafting graphically embellished chocolate where taste is not compromised has proven a difficult task for some, but not for Recchiuti. His incredibly creamy ganache, handmade with 65% dark chocolate is perfectly merged with a subtle cinnamon malt and a bold wild rasberry and is nothing short of rapturous.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Chocoholics Anonymous
Those closest to me have coined the New York Metro Chocolate Meetup Group "Chocoholics Anonymous" when in fact the monthly sessions are more like exuberant celebrations of confection, replete with outstanding bottle service, divine chocolate, and a plethora of chic New Yorkers—quite the opposite of the church basement, support group scene. This month’s Meetup was dedicated solely to the distinguished art of chocolate tasting, which was achieved via the sampling of extraordinary (and not so extraordinary) chocolate from plantations as far away as Madagascar, Venezuela and San Tome. Oddly enough, I still managed to leave the meeting with a few additional items that could possibly qualify as contraband. Michel Cluizel’s Les Champignons--magic little mushrooms fashioned from nougatine (similar to praline, a paste made with sugar and ground almonds), caramel, and dark chocolate induce a heightened sense of elation. Cluizel's Chocolate Covered Coca Nibs, for "concentration, energy and bliss" are prescribed 3, as needed and come with a disclaimer "May cause euphoria." I confess, I may have overdosed. Until we meet again next month...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fashion meet Fauchon
It’s easy to mistake Paris based Fauchon for Fashion, with its trademark logo and posh New York address. In fact, I like to think of Fauchon as the Chanel of confection. Try giving the fashionista in your life one of their impeccably stylish signature mini pink purses filled with gorgeous Gianduja and Carre Or. Throw in a jar of the rose petal preserve (I know it's not chocolate, but it's too sublime to ignore) and she’s bound to forget about that hot pink Chanel item she’s been coveting…at least temporarily.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cuckoo for
Cocoa Bon

You can tell that Cali based Cocoa Bon takes chocolate seriously by the sophisticated look of their packaging. They forgo the ubiquitous paper and foil wrapping for a clean, portable tin. This attention to detail also applies to their chocolate. I enjoy the Dark Chocolate Gingersnap which for such a tiny morsel is packed with intense flavor. Most of the varieties such as the Dark Chocolate Mint and Chai Chocolate Caramel are relatively tasty, while the true star of the show is the Cocoa Bon 72--An unadulterated bitter sweet dark chocolate with a 72% cocoa content. What you get is cacao beans, pure cane sugar, soy lechitin and vanilla. The nickel sized confections are intense and robust and are sure to be a hit amongst the cocoa elite.