A year ago, I brought nineteen bars of chocolate from New York City home in my backpack. I walked streets and rode subways, scrutinized store shelves, endured cold, rain and the TSA at Newark to get them here. Amazing how time goes by, yet the city, and in fact the entire east coast is facing another freak storm, like last year at this time (except this one is bigger, badder, colder, wetter; a superfreak version of the 2011 storm).
And they are nearly gone. Only two bars remain and one will be reviewed here.
It’s been a learning experience so far, to put it mildly. I’ve spoken to artisan chocolatiers and people who just love to eat the good stuff. I’ve faced blank stares from people who don’t understand why I do this, and big smiles from those who totally get it. I’ve had my requests for information ignored, and also been welcomed with open arms, all my questions answered and a taste or two of product along the way. I’ve found that just like in any other profession, you have some really good folks who want to share their passion, and some who think that anyone who is asking about their process is a spy out to ruin them. I’m learning not to take rejection personally, and cultivate the connections I make, while enjoying the new products along the way.
Along with some of the products I found at the recent Fort Lauderdale show, here’s the penultimate NYC stash bar:
- La Maison du Chocolat Marao 60% Dark with Bursts of Roasted Almond: I loved it when I found this shop on a rainy Thursday afternoon in Manhattan. All decorated in shades of chocolate brown and serving cakes, coffee, teas and silver trays of chocolate, it was a chic reason to get out of weather. This bar is a little on the sweet side for me, and the almond addition doesn’t burst so much as melt away pleasantly, because the pieces are so small. But it’s a good bar, one you can share with a friend or a child who isn’t fond of bittersweet bars.
- Cacao Art Palet d’ Or: from the Miami-base chocolatier (http://cacaoart.com/Chocolates5.html), this little work of art is so dense and dark it will actually make you shiver. And the bit of 24K gold leaf on top is just a bit of gilding on an already perfect lily.
- Sweet Treats Brigadeiro Pistachio Truffle (http://sweettreatsbrigadeiro.com/): I used a knife to slice through this, just to see what the texture was like. The best way to describe it is “mud pie consistency.” The website refers to the inside of the truffle as “dough,” which is probably a bit more elegant. Suffice to say it’s somewhere between frosting and fudge, and the nuts are just there for fun. Their classic truffle, with a 70% shell covering the same center, is a bit closer to what truffle “purists” probably consider a “real” truffle. What can I say? It’s different in Brazil, but it’s not a bad thing. Sweeter, heavier and guaranteed to feed your fix with just one.
- What are truffles and what country do chocolate truffles come from? (proflowers.com)
- Different Types of Chocolate Truffles (proflowers.com)
- How to Mix Truffles, Wine (foxnews.com)
- Expensive Chocolates for Those With a Taste For Luxury (berries.com)