Archive for the ‘chocolate’ Category

An Artisanal Beer and Chocolate Pairing during Paris Beer Week
By Monique Y. Wells

Sunday, June 7th, 2015
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Our favorite neighborhood chocolate boutique, Mococha, and favorite beer purveyor, Brewberry, teamed up for this year’s Paris Beer Week festivities to present a self-guided beer and chocolate pairing. It took place from 6 – 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at Brewberry. Reservations were required but there was no set time for participants to arrive.

The lovely proprietors, Marie Gantois of Mococha and Cécile Delorme-Thomas of Brewberry, worked together to select beer and chocolate pairings based on complementary or opposing notes between the products they carry. During this process, they found that most of the ganaches and pralinés that Marie stocks did not work well with Cécile’s beers.

Marie Gantois, Proprietor of Mococha

Marie Gantois, Proprietor of Mococha
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Cécile Delorme

Cécile Delorme, Proprietor of Brewberry
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

Undeterred, Marie decided to test some of her chocolate bars with Cécile’s beers. She and Cécile were much happier with the resulting flavor combinations. In the end, they paired three artisanal beers with five artisanal chocolate bars and one ganache for the event.

Five Bars and One Ganache in Search of Three Beers

Five Bars and One Ganache in Search of Three Beers
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Participants received an fact sheet containing gustatory details of each beer and each chocolate presented during the evening. Each beer was paired with two chocolates, as follows:

• Beer #1 – Naparbier Barley Wine white wine BA (12°) with Kochi (Johann Dubois) and Cuba (François Pralus)

• Beer #2 – TOOL Black Maria (8.1°) with Mélissa (François Pralus) and Brésil (François Pralus)

• Beer #3 – Omnipollo Hypnopompa (10°) with Tonka (Benoit Nihant) and Lait d’amandes (Benoit Nihant)

I’m not a beer drinker but am always willing to try pairings organized by Marie because I find her taste in chocolate to be exquisite!

Three Beers Paired with Six Chocolates

Three Beers Paired with Six Chocolates
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The first pairing was my favorite, by far. I tasted the beer before the chocolate — and loved it! I learned that Barley Wine is a style of beer, like IPA or stout. It is aged for 15 months in oak barrels that were previously used to age white wine.

At 12°, Naparbier’s alcohol content is quite high for beer. With its notes of caramel and stewed fruit, it tasted like an after dinner drink. I would buy this beer to enjoy on its own, without chocolate!

I then sampled the chocolates, with and without tiny sips of beer. Kochi, by Johann Dubois, was the only ganache that “made the cut” for the Paris Beer Week tasting. It is made from milk chocolate (40%), hazelnuts and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit). Cuba, a dark chocolate bar (75%) made from Cuban chocolate, was quite spicy and potent. The information sheet indicated that this bar, made by François Pralus, likely represents the last opportunity that Europeans will have to taste chocolate made from Cuban cocoa beans. No explanation was given as to why cocoa beans from Cuba would be banned in Europe.

Of the two chocolates, I liked the dark-chocolate Cuba bar the best — with and without the beer.

My next favorite pairing was the Omnipollo Hypnopompa beer with the Lait d’amandes bar. I described the aroma of this brown, Swedish beer as slightly funky and animal-like, though later, I could detect notes of coffee. I did not like it on its own but found that it accompanied both chocolates nicely.

I did not like the TOOL Black Maria at all, but loved both chocolates that were paired with it.

I found the format for this tasting to be quite agreeable — I much prefer being able to arrive at my convenience, then taste, take notes, and ask questions at my own pace.

I hope that Marie and Cécile will organize a tasting for Paris Beer Week next year!

Mococha
89, rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel: 01 47 07 13 66
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Metro: Place Monge, Censier Daubenton (Line 7)

Brewberry
18, rue de Pot-de-Fer
75005 Paris
Tel: 01 43 36 53 92
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 2 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Metro: Place Monge (Line 7)

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Santiago Peralta Talks about His Chocolates at Mococha

Friday, November 7th, 2014
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Santiago Peralta, Co-founder of Pacari Chocolate

Santiago Peralta, Co-founder of Pacari Chocolate
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Chocolate maker Santiago Peralta recently paid a visit to Mococha, our favorite chocolate shop on rue Mouffetard, to talk about his chocolates. Mr. Peralta hails from Ecuador, where he works with cacao growers to create fine chocolates—the first single-origin organic chocolate made entirely in Ecuador.

Peralta’s company, Pacari Chocolate, won six gold and three silver medals at the International Chocolate Awards in 2012. In 2013, Pacari won five gold and one silver. Awards for the 2014 World Final have not yet been announced.

During Mr. Peralta’s presentation, we had the opportunity to taste a wide variety of Pacari chocolates. While all of the ones that I tasted had astoundingly rich earthy, fruity, and flowery flavors, the most memorable for me were the Raw 70% Cacao Chocolate Bar (silver winner in 2012 and gold and silver winner in 2013 of the International Chocolate Awards) and the Raw 70% Cacao with Salt and Nibs Chocolate Bar (silver winner in 2012 and 2013). For the latter bar, the crunchy bits of salt that had been incorporated into the chocolate added sparkle that brought out the already intense chocolate flavor.

Marie-Hélène Gantois, proprietor of Mococha, announced that she will be selling fourteen varieties of Pacari chocolate until the end of December. For chocolate lovers living in Paris, this is an occasion for purchasing and tasting what is perhaps the best chocolate in the world.

Pamela Revilla Adams - Santiago Peralta - Marie-Hélène Gantois

Pamela Revilla Adams – Founder of Orga France (Importer of Fine Chocolate)
Santiago Peralta – Co-founder Pacari Chocolate
Marie-Hélène Gantois – Mococha Chocolat

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

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A Preview of Winter Chocolate Creations at Un Dimanche à Paris

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
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Un Dimanche à Paris on Cour du Commerce Saint-André

Un Dimanche à Paris on Cour du Commerce Saint-André
Photograph courtesy of Un Dimanche à Paris

In mid-September, Monique and I were invited to a preview event to taste winter chocolate creations at Un Dimanche à Paris, a restaurant located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. When we arrived there for the tasting, we discovered that it is much more than a restaurant.

Located on a narrow 18th-century cobblestone walkway called Cour de Commerce Saint-André, the establishment houses a number of enterprises that are a-buzz with activity: a restaurant, a pastry shop, a salon de thé, and a pastry school. And to our great joy, we learned that the common theme around which all of these activities focus is chocolate—in all of its forms.

Upon entering the pastry shop, we were ushered upstairs to a large kitchen where the new winter creations were on display…and all were available for sampling!

Anna Maury - Communications

Anna Maury – Communications
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Anna Maury of the business communications office greeted us and handed each of us a cup of thick, delicious hot chocolate. We were off to a good start!

Sapins de Noël

Sapins de Noël
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I took one of the “Sapins de Noël” (Christmas trees) from the display and bit into it. Resting on a shortbread cookie called sablé Breton, this small confection contained chocolate mousse (50% cocoa), vanilla cream, and milky gianduja encased in a thin layer of chocolate and wrapped in a soft green cocoa-butter velours. Very rich and quite filling! The pastry will be on sale at the boutique from December 8 through December 31.

Ecorce de Chocolat

Bûche – Ecorce de Chocolat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Monique tried the “Bûche – Ecorce de Chocolat,” a dessert shaped like a Yule log enrobed in an irregular chocolate pastry shell fashioned to look like the bark of a birch tree. The log contained chocolate mousse (66% cocoa) and mandarin-flavored cream glazed with dark chocolate. The whole rested on a base of crunchy chocolate cookie enhanced with fleur de sel (sea salt). The pastry will be on sale at the boutique from December 20 through December 31.

Pierre Cluizel and Nicolas Bacheyre

Pierre Cluizel, Director and Nicolas Bacheyre, Pastry Chef and Chocolate Maker
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I had the pleasure of meeting Pierre Cluizel, director, and Nicolas Bacheyre, pastry chef and chocolate maker.

Pierre Cluizel, son of renowned chocolate maker Michel Cluizel, worked for twenty-five years in the family’s business. He launched Un Dimanche à Paris as a concept store in 2011. In the dining room, he uses chocolate as a spice, and each dish contains some form of this ingredient.

Before coming to Un Dimanche à Paris, 30-year-old Nicolas Bacheyre worked for Fouquet’s (a famed restaurant on the Champs-Elysées), for Le Quinzième (a restaurant owned and created by Cyril Lignac), and for Fauchon (an esteemed caterer) as sous-chef.

The core philosophy of Un Dimanche à Paris is the concept of gourmandise raisonnée, exemplified by the creation of light-textured pastries that contain less sugar and are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. After this tasting, we can affirm that their pastries meet these noble goals.

Un Dimanche à Paris
4-6-8, cour du Commerce Saint-André
75006 Paris
Tel.: 01.56.81.18.08 (boutique)
www.un-dimanche-a-paris

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Whisky and Chocolate Paring at Maison Claudel

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
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Marie-Hélène Gantois - Michèle Claudel - Charles Claudel

Marie-Hélène Gantois of Mococha Chocolates
Michèle and Charles Claudel of Maison Claudel

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The wine and whisky store Maison Claudel and chocolate shop Mococha joined forces two weeks ago to present a whisky and chocolate pairing. For me, it was a wonderful adventure into the discovery of exotic aromas and flavors.

The evening began with a presentation by Marie-Hélène, who described the process that cocoa beans go through during the production of chocolate. I learned that cocoa does not become chocolate until sugar—as little as 1%—is added to the cocoa mass. Marie-Hélène distributed raw cocoa beans, and then roasted beans, for us to taste. The roasted beans were easier to shell, because the roasting process had rendered their husks brittle. In either state (raw or roasted) they were pleasant to eat and not too bitter, because cocoa butter was present in the bean. During the process of making chocolate, cocoa butter is squeezed out, rendering the mass bitter until sugar is added. At some point during the manufacturing process, cocoa butter is added back in.

Charles Claudel then explained how whisky is produced from cereal grain. One of the early steps in the process is the production of malted barley. Wet barley grains are allowed to sprout at which point they are dried to stop the sprouting. In Scotland, during the drying process, peat is used to fuel the fire that heats the kiln in which the barley is dried. The barley absorbs the odor of the peat, yielding the smokey, peaty aroma that many whisky drinkers seek.

Charles spoke about the six aromas of whisky: malt (cereal, herbes), peat (smokey, medicinal, iodine), perfume (floral), acrid (sulfur, bitterness), fruit (dried or cooked fruit), woody (odor of the barrel in which it was aged). An acrid aroma is considered to be an imperfection, a defect. Nonetheless, Charles declared, even good whiskies have some imperfection&#8212imperfection contributes to the character of the beverage.

Whisky Afficionado Romain Berbudeau Seeks Out Those Notes of Caramel

Whisky Aficionado Romain Berbudeau Seeks Out Those Notes of Caramel
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Chocolate Aficionada Rosa Hewins Selects a Chocolate

Chocolate Aficionada Rosa Hewins Selects a Sweet
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Following the presentations, we tasted four whiskies paired with four chocolates. I preferred Compass Box Oak Cross that was served with a praline-filled chocolate. For me, the soft herbal aroma of the spirit harmonized well with the mild nutty flavor of the chocolate.

A Man Who Knows His Whisky

A Man Who Knows His Whisky
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A good time was had by all!

Maison Claudel
62, rue Monge
75005 Paris
Tel.: 01.45.87.17.95

Mococha Chocolats
89, rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel.: 01.47.07.13.66

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Inside the Easter Egg

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
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Easter egg from Mococha Chocolats

Easter Egg from Mococha Chocolats
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We purchased an Easter egg from Mococha Chocolats and took it home to see what treasures were hidden within.

Teddy and Angry Egg

Teddy Bear, Angry Egg, and “Friture”
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Voilà! There were three chocolates by master chocolate-maker Pierre Chapon: a Teddy bear, an angry egg, and a “friture.” The Teddy bear was composed of white chocolate enrobing a mixture of hazelnut praliné and white chocolate. The composition of the angry egg was similar that of the Teddy, except that it contained more white chocolate than praliné. And the “friture” (which means “little fish for frying” in French) was smooth milk chocolate with a pronounced vanilla flavor. All tasted dreamy!

Mococha
89, Rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel.: 01.47.07.13.66

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Chocolat Elot from Martinique

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
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Chocolat ELOT 450w

At the recent Salon International d’Agriculture, I acquired a 100g bar of chocolate, called Chocolat Elot, that is manufactured in Martinique. Containing a minimum of 42% cocoa, the bar is made from cocoa from Martinique and Trinidad, vanilla, and cane sugar.

Dark-brown in color, the bar has a dull-luster finish and a pleasant sweet-chocolate aroma. It does not melt quickly in the mouth, but rather provides firm resistance to the bite. Its texture is grainy, like fine sand. As for its flavor, it is sweet, intense, and earthy. This is an enjoyable chocolate bar to eat, especially if one has a preference for sweet, rather than bitter-sweet, chocolate.

Special thanks to Janick Ancete, chef of La Kaz’ à Crêpes, for providing this chocolate bar.

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A Hands-on Pastry Workshop in the Town of Saint-Ouen

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
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In mid-November, I received an invitation from the Saint-Ouen Tourist Office to attend a pastry workshop at a bakery in their town. Saint-Ouen lies just outside of Paris, to the north. I was going to learn how to make a Tarte choco-praliné (chocolate-praline tart)!

Boulangerie Blot

Boulangerie Blot
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The bakery, Boulangerie Blot, is operated by Patrick and Céline Blot. It lies on rue des Rosiers, not far from the famous Paris Flea Market (which is, in reality, located in Saint-Ouen).

Madame Blot and Group

Madame Blot and Group
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Pastry Dough

Pastry Dough
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Madame Blot had prepared the dough for the tart in advance. All we had to do was to place it into a tart mold. (There was one mold for each of us.) Then she prepared the ganache (filling), while at the same time talking about the ingredients that she was using. I quickly realized that there wouldn’t be much “hands-on” in this workshop, but that didn’t matter too much, because I also realized that this was a rare occasion to be part of an all-French group experience. There weren’t any Anglophones to talk to!

Madame Blot Preparing Ganache

Madame Blot Preparing Ganache (Filling)
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Catherine Taking Notes

Catherine Taking Notes
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

One of the participants, Catherine, took careful notes. There was a lot of discussion between Madame Blot and the participants about ingredients, technique, and so on. It was enough for me to keep up with the spoken French as the words whizzed by me at super-speed.

Tom Filling the Pastry Shell

Tom Filling the Pastry Shell with Ganache
Photograph by Saint-Ouen Tourist Office

After Madame Blot finished preparing the ganache, we each spooned it into our pastry shell. At this point, the tart should have gone into the oven to bake. After it cooled, it would be finished off with a topping of croquant praliné (crunchy praline). However, as time was short, Madame Blot had already prepared and baked a number of ganache-filled tarts. She brought these out for us to top off with the praliné.

Preparing Croquant praliné

Preparing Croquant Praliné
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Some of the participants took a hand at mixing the croquant praliné. Many hands make light work!

Catherine Filling the Pastry Shell

Catherine Spreading Croquant Praliné onto Her Tart
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We spread a layer of croquant praliné onto our tarts.

Tom Squirting Chocolate From Piping Bag

Tom Squirting Chocolate From Piping Bag
Photograph by Saint-Ouen Tourist Office

After we spread the croquant praliné, we squirted chocolate from a piping bag to decorate the tart. It wasn’t as easy as Madame Blot made it look!

Tom's Work of Art

Tom’s Work of Art
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I thought that my handiwork was particularly compelling.

Catherine's Masterpiece

Catherine’s Masterpiece
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Catherine displays her masterpiece.

Marion Landry-Stoffyn - Chargée de l’Accueil et des Animations

Marion Landry-Stoffyn
Chargée de l’Accueil et des Animations

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Thanks to Marion Landry-Stoffyn of the Saint-Ouen Tourist Office.

Patrick Blot and His Daughter

Patrick Blot and His Daughter
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And thanks to Monsieur and Madame Blot for inviting us into their bakery.

Saint-Ouen Office of Tourism
30, avenue Gabriel Péri
93400 Saint-Ouen
Tel.: 01.40.11.77.36

Boulangerie Blot
49, rue des Rosiers
93400 Saint-Ouen
Tel.: 01.40.11.08.15

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Champagne and Chocolate at Mococha

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
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Alexandre Billon and Marie-Hélène Gantoise

Alexandre Billon and Marie-Hélène Gantois
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

In December, I had the opportunity to attend a champagne and chocolate tasting at Mococha—our favorite chocolate shop on rue Mouffetard. Marie-Hélène Gantois, the proprietor of the shop, provided chocolates and Alexandre Billon, a wine merchant from the nearby wine shop La Fontaine aux Vins, supplied the champagne.

Marie declared that the purpose of the tasting was to challenge the idea that champagne doesn’t go well with chocolate.

Alexandre began by pouring a Ronseaux-Wanner Grand Cru 2005. He explained that the older a champagne is, the fewer bubbles it will have, because the carbonation slowly escapes through the champagne cork over time. Indeed, this grand cru did not have as much fizz as a younger champagne. I found its taste to be quite bitter.

While the participants enjoyed the champagne, Marie circulated with trays of different ganache (cream-filled) chocolates. We tried several with this wine, and I succeeded in determining that a fig-flavored ganache by Rémi Henry did indeed complement the champagne. However, this was not because of the chocolate, but because of the fig—the sweetness of the fruit offset the bitterness of the champagne.

Alexandre then poured a Robert Desbrosse 2006. I found it to be only mildly bitter, which to my mind gave it a better chance at harmonizing with chocolate. I thought that it went well with a peach-flavored ganache called Péché by Fabrice Gillotte, again because the chocolate was flavored with fruit. But it also went well with a bitter-sweet praline chocolate called Muscovado by the same producer. Together in the mouth, the Desbrosse and the Muscovado tasted like sweet, liquid chocolate.

The third champagne was a Drappier Brut Nature, produced from 100% Pinot Noir grape. Its label indicated that it was zéro dosage, meaning that it did not receive a liqueur de dosage (a small quantity of cane sugar mixed with champagne) during its production. Dry and refreshing, it went well with Amandes “turbinées” (milk-chocolate coated almonds) by Fabrice Gillotte.  I attributed this harmony to the flavor of the almonds, not to the flavor of the chocolate in which they were enrobed.

By the end of the event, although I had enjoyed some fine champagne and chocolate, I remained unconvinced that they actually complemented each other.  The production of champagne and chocolate is a complex process and, in my mind, they emerge as finished products that should be enjoyed on their own merits.  However, if one feels compelled to drink wine with chocolate, I recommend Banyuls, a fortified red wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.

Marie Pours Ronseaux-Wanner Grand Cru 2005

Marie Pours Ronseaux-Wanner Grand Cru 2005
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Marie hosts numerous events of this type in her shop, introducing new chocolate producers or paring chocolate with other beverages. Join her Facebook page to keep abreast of her activities!

Mococha
89, Rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel.: 01.47.07.13.66

La Fontaine aux Vins
107, Rue Mouffetard
75005 Paris
Tel.: 01.43.31.41.03

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44 Rue Vivienne
Part II – The Chocolate Tasting

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
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Chocolate Display

Chocolate Display
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Getting the chance to spend a weekend at an apartment loaned to us by Habitat Parisien was a great opportunity to accomplish two things: explore a Parisian neighborhood with which we were unfamiliar and invite some friends over for a small party. We’ll tell you about the neighborhood in our next blog post. Today, we’re sharing the details about our little social gathering — a dégustation that we organized with Marie-Hélène Gantois of Mococha Chocolat. We invited eight persons to the apartment for an event that was filled with laughter, conversation, and chocolate!

Marie arrived early to set up. She brought three varieties of single-origin, dark-chocolate bars (75% chocolate), booklets containing information to accompany the event, and a number of flavored ganaches (filled chocolates) to taste.

From left to Right:  Eric Anthonissen - Adrian Leeds- Monique Y. Wells - Marie-Hélène Gantois

From left to right:
Eric Anthonissen – Adrian Leeds – Monique Y. Wells – Marie-Hélène Gantois

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

After Marie gave an overview of chocolate production, she had us take a quiz that revealed our chocolate personality. It consisted of eleven multiple-choice questions, the answers to which showed that I am a choco-intuitive personality, one who is “hypersensitive to beautiful things.” Monique turned out to be a choco-festive type, a person who likes to share with a group.

Marie proceeded to have us taste the chocolate bars, one by one. Produced by Patrice Chapon, they were made from cocoa beans from Equador, Peru, and Cuba. I liked the one from Cuba the best—it had an earthy flavor and the longest finish.

Tasting chocolate doesn’t mean that you just pop a morsel into your mouth and gulp it down. Oh no! We followed a meticulous procedure that included clearing the palate (drinking a small amount of water), breaking the piece of chocolate (to listen to its “snap”), smelling the chocolate (to experience its aroma), allowing a piece to melt on the tongue (to taste it), and observing the lingering effects of the chocolate in the mouth (to identify its aftertaste).

Taking a Chocolate Ganache

Taking a Chocolate Ganache
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

After following this tasting procedure, which required great restraint on the part of all of the participants, Marie proceeded to conduct a blind test of filled chocolates. She offered a chocolate ganache to each of us and invited us to identify the flavors in each one. The first person to identify them would win a prize! Basil was the first flavor to be correctly identified, followed by ginger, coco-cinnamon, and tonka bean, No one identified the wasabi in the second ganache, but we all enjoyed trying!

Finally, Marie offered us a bonus chocolate — a paper-thin disc reminiscent of a large communion wafer that was flavored with cumin and paprika. One of our invitees correctly identified the paprika but no one could identify the cumin.

In the end, everybody won a prize—a box of four ganaches to take home. These chocolates were made by the three master chocolate makers that Marie features in her shop: Fabrice Gillotte, Jacques Bellanger, and Patrice Chapon.

The tasting event lasted about three hours, but we barely noticed — time passes quickly when you are having fun!

Chocolate Connoisseurs

Chocolate Connoisseurs
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

From left to right, top to bottom:
Adrian Leeds
Danielle Alvarez
Patricia Rosas
Sandy Allen
Diane Anthonissen
Eric Anthonissen
John
Monique Y. Wells
Richard Allen

Tom Reeves Reading the Gospel According to Chocolate

Tom Reeves Reading the Gospel According to Chocolate
Photograph by Richard Allen

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An Evening of Chocolate Tasting with Les Amants du Chocolat de la Couronne Parisienne

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
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One of the advantages of blogging about chocolate tastings is that one meets people who invite you to…more chocolate tastings!

It was at the hot chocolate demonstration at Mococha where I met Sabine Malet, secretary of the chocolate appreciation club Les Amants du Chocolat de la Couronne Parisienne. Sabine told me about her club’s tasting that would feature the chocolate of Laurence Dali, who operates O Mille et une Fèves in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. Naturally, I wanted to be part of that.

La Petite Fabrique

La Petite Fabrique
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The tasting was held at an organic restaurant called La Petite Fabrique at 15, rue des Vignoles, not too far from Laurence’s shop. About fifteen people were in attendance and all were in a jovial mood. Laurence set the tone by distributing bars of Santo Domingo 70% Criollo chocolate, one of the finest chocolates available. She supplied enough to taste to our hearts’ content while she talked about how she quit her desk job at the age of 40 to plunge into the world of chocolate making. After taking a two-year program at the prestigious Grégoire Ferrandi cooking school in Paris, she opened her own boutique. And the rest is history!

Laurence makes fruit, spice, and nut-coated chocolate bars, molded chocolates, chocolate-dipped candied fruit, chocolate-dipped dried fruit, and pralines. She doesn’t, however, make cream-filled chocolates (ganaches). She uses 64% cocoa as the base of her chocolate bars (except the Criollo). During the tasting, she distributed many different samples of all of these varieties — one at a time.

Chocolate-dipped Candied Ginger

Chocolate-dipped Candied Ginger
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I enjoyed the chocolate-dipped candied ginger. It yielded softly to the bite.

Espelette-dusted Chocolate

Espelette-dusted Chocolate
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The Espelette-dusted chocolate bar had a spicy sting, while the crumbled Speculoos top of another bar provided crunchy, caramelized counterpoint to the chocolate. The chocolate-dipped candied orange peel came through with full orange flavor, while the covering of the chocolate-dipped dried fig overwhelmed the flavor of the fig.

There was much more to taste. It was a chocolate lover’s dream!

Virginie

Virginie
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

At the end of the tasting it was time for dinner. The waitress, Virginie, took our orders and we tucked into a delicious vegetarian meal.

Around the Table

Around the Table
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A good time was had by all!

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