Archive for August, 2010

Paris Chocolate Boutiques

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Some people dream about love and others dream about money. But me? I dream about chocolate… chocolate vacations in Paris to be precise. And that dream came true several months back when my partner, Joan and I, took a 7-day tour of the “Parisian Chocolate Strip.” If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you must check out the Chocolate Doctor’s Guide to Paris Chocolate Boutiques—it’s my list of the best chocolates Paris has to offer. Don’t miss even one on the list! And be sure to let me know of any new discoveries.

La Maison du ChocolatLa Maison du Chocolat
225 Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré
75008 Paris
01 42.27.39.44

The scrumptious chocolates sparkle in the shop window like precious jewels, delicately wrapped in cocoa-colored diaphanous cellophane…above, emblazoned in bold lettering: La Maison du Chocolat. La Maison in Paris could well be regarded as the Hermès of the chocolate world. Company founder Robert Linxe—The Wizard of Ganache—pioneered the approach of bringing the production principles of haute cuisine to the world of chocolate making.

Christian ConstantChristian Constant
37 Rue d’Assas
75006 Paris
01 53.63.15.15

Mr. Constant is a master chocolatier who travels the world to garner the best ingredients for his creations. He makes the chocolates from the finest cocoa liquor and cocoa butter. The flavors are delicious and subtle. The sugar addition is just enough, so the texture remains incredibly smooth and never too sweet.

Josephine VannierJosephine Vannier
4 Rue du Pas De La Mule
75003 Paris
01 44.54.03.09

A delectable chocolate shop with incredible chocolate sculptures in the window and the latest theme is a collection of chocolate boxes. Once inside you are assailed with an intense scent of chocolate and amused by the other sculptures of musical instruments, cell phones, Eiffel Towers, and globes. Try the exotic flavored chocolate bars with combinations of salt and pepper, dried raspberry, spice bread, curry and pimento spice, and dried apple & pear.

Michel CluizelMichel Cluziel
201 Rue St. Honoré
75001 Paris
01 42.44.11.66

Michel Cluizel chocolates have been renowned since the mid-20th century, when Cluizel first opened a family-run shop in Normandy. One of the rare chocolatiers to process their own carefully-selected cocoa beans, Michel Cluizel’s chocolates are known for their distinct, balanced flavors. At the famous store near the Tuileries Gardens and the St. Honoré fashion district, visitors can indulge in delicious dark or milk bars, each produced from a distinct blend of cocoa beans in Cluizel’s chocolaterie.

Pierre HerméPierre Hermé
72 Rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
01 43.54.47.77

Pierre Hermé is widely considered the greatest pastry chef in the world and has some of the most interesting chocolate in Paris. Hermé is the “Picasso of pastry”, in the words of fashion magazine Vogue. Try his version of “Death by Chocolate”, a moist chocolate biscuit base layered with smooth chocolate cream, frothy chocolate mousse and fine leaves of crunchy chocolate for an explosion of textures.

John-Paul HevinJean-Paul Hevin
231 Rue St. Honoré
75001 Paris
01 55.35.35.96

Jean-Paul is an extraordinary confectioner/chocolate and ice-cream maker. He spent seven creative-packed, discovery-filled years perfecting his craft alongside Chef Joël Robuchon. He created outrageous, offbeat cheese-flavored chocolates (with tastes like Camembert, goat cheese, and Roquefort) and a variety of flavor-enhancing dried fruit, herb, or spice: époisses cheese/ cumin, Pont l’évêque cheese/thyme, goat cheese/hazelnut, and roquefort/walnut chocolates. In 1988 Hevin opened his first shop (“Le Petit Boulé”) on Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, Paris. He then opened a second shop on Rue Vavin in 1990 and a Tea House rue Saint Honoré in 1997.

Girard Dragées de VerdunGirard-Dragées de Verdun
4 Rue des Archives
75004 Paris
01 42.72.39.62

A 40 year old family business has developed three generations of producing upscale chocolates in the heart of Paris. arrange visits to their chocolate laboratory within a gastronomic and cultural context.

Chocolat FoucherChocolat Foucher
134 Rue du Bac
75007 Paris
01 45.44.05.57

There are quite a few places in Paris where you can buy and eat great chocolate and Chocolat Foucher is definitely one of them. Even though they have two stores in Paris (one on Avenue de l’Opéra and one on the left bank, on the Rue du Bac) it’s anything but a chain store and it’s still a family operated business (founded in 1819). If you come to Paris, visit the store on the Rue du Bac because you can also have tea there.

Patrick RogerPatrick Roger
108 Blvd. St. Germain
75006 Paris
01 43.29.38.42

A sculptor of flavors, he treats chocolate like a raw material which he transforms into giant 150 pound creations or wrapped sweets in yard-long boxes. The subtlety of flavors, the combination of textures and the sublime aesthetics of the creations are what makes the gourmet world of Patrick Roger so fascinating.

Michel ChaudunMichel Chaudun
149 Rue de l’Universite
75007 Paris
01 47.53.74.40

A former employee of La Maison du Chocolate, Michel Chaudun set out on his own just a few years ago, opening a little corner shop on Rue de l’Universite. According to one well-known Parisian food critic, Chaudun’s product now equals that of his mentor, Robert Linxe, in both quality and creativity. His base chocolate, a blend of chocolates from nine sources, is rich and complex. Products: includes over twenty-five creations, the latest of which is a crunchy, dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa liquor) flavored with toasted, crushed cocoa beans.

RichartRichart
258 Blvd. St. Germain
75007 Paris
01 45.55.66.00

Richart is fond of using exotic spices and herbs and likes to make tiny chocolates that are just one mouthful. You can always count in inventive flavors—with an accent on fruit, spice or flower-flavored ganaches.

Debauve & GallaisDebauve & Gallais
30 Rue Saints Pères
75007 Paris
01 45.48.54.67

A national treasure closely guarded by the French savvy travellers flock to the legendary D & G on Paris’ Left Bank. Established in Paris in 1800 and appointed the official chocolatier to the French court, Debauve & Gallais has since built a cult following among chocoholics, gourmands, and connoisseurs all over the world.

Jacques GeninJacques Genin
133 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris
01 45.77.29.01

3-Star Michelin Chef Alain Ducasse selected Jacques Genin his chocolatier for his restaurants. After years of jumps and starts the most elusive chocolatier in Paris opened up his own boutique in December 2008.

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The Making of Q-91 Chocolate

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

An intense, rich, robust taste of our darkest chocolate!

grapesThe artisan chocolate industry is still very much in its infancy. It’s on a parallel path to where the wine industry was in the early 1960s with vintages, estate-produced blends and even single origin varietals. While I never thought anything could me more complex than growing and harvesting grapes, crushing and fermenting the must, the aging process, and finally bottling the wine, I’ve learned that the chocolate-making process is very much like that of wine… only on steroids—more temperamental, more multifaceted, and even more rewarding. It is now a known fact that dark chocolate, high in cacao mass, has many of the same health benefits that have been recently discovered in red wines.

cacao podsThe complexities of turning rustic cacao beans into fine chocolate are many. Consider that cacao crops are grown on plantations by over 3.5 million independent subsistence farmers in no fewer than 50 exotic countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Ecuador and Columbia… distances of over 5,000-10,000 miles from where the beans are grown to where they are processed. The beans have to be of certain specie and harvested at the perfect moment of ripeness. The farmers must also carefully ferment and dry the beans before shipping them to artisan chocolate makers and chocolatiers in the United States (and other points around the world) for further processing.

cacao beansRecently, Joan and I had the experience of following the process of making Q-91, from the plantantation in South America to the processing facility in the Untied States where we carefully observed the production of turning the once cacao beans into a fine grand crux chocolate.

Chocolate Processing EquipmentThe treasure of beans were imported to the United States from small, subsistence farms near one of the many tributaries of the Amazon. Initially transported by burros to all-terrain vehicles, they finally made it to airplanes, then get flown to California. It was here that the beans were slowly roasted and winnowed, a process of removing the outer shell and extracting the inner bean, leaving the rich, aromatic and flavorful cacao mass of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.

Sugar Cane FieldThe unfinished mass was converted into Q-91 chocolate with only the addition of a small measure of Hawaiian cane sugar, a touch of vanilla and some additional cocoa butter, then conched for over 72 hours. The result was our highest percentage of cacao mass chocolate. I think you will agree that it is one of the finest chocolates ever to be tasted.

MontezumaThis South American treasure, made from the species of beans that Montezuma himself might have enjoyed, is rich in the most full-bodied, “big chocolate” intensity available. The chocolate has light undertones of coffee, red fruit, touches of tropical forest musk, with traces of banana and cashew flavors.

Like wine, chocolate goes through its own manner of “bottle shock” and must be allowed to relax to fully develop. Q-91At Choclatique, we quality check and, of course, the taste the texture of our chocolate on the day of production, four days after production when the chocolate has had a chance to fully develop its Beta 5 crystalline structure, and again twenty days post-production when the chocolate has fully matured before it is sold.

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The Coveted Ivy League Halls of Yale University — It’s Back to School

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Yale UniversityIt was back to school last week for both Chef Wayne Chidester and me as we had the honor of teaching several days of bakery and confection workshops using American-grown, protein-packed peanuts at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The peanut immersion workshops were sponsored by the National Peanut Board who so ably represent America’s peanut farmers.

Yale University2New Haven is a campus town with quaint commercial districts, serene residential streets, the famous New Haven Green, Yale University and other landmarks of American history. It’s also the place that has given the world five United States presidents, the hamburger, the lollipop, the corkscrew, and some of the world’s best pizza.

Yale University3Yale University has been a part of the New Haven community for three centuries. With just over 11,000 hard-working students, you can imagine the appetites that have to be satisfied in the 12 colleges, Commons (Yale’s primary Dining Hall) and several other foodservice facilities. Yale CommonsCommons alone serves nearly 16,000 meals per week. Yale has made an effort to serve “responsible foods”— foods that are healthful, locally-grown in a sustainable fashion, whole wheat products and now a protein-rich bakery—pastry and bread—which offers menu options made from what George Washington Carver thought was nature’s perfect food, the peanut.

In some cases, peanut flour can be used as a one-for-one replacement for all-purpose flour resulting in a 100% gluten-free pastry. In the gluten-free category we chose to showcase Milk Chocolate Ganache-Peanut Butter Muffins, Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle, Peanut Butter Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Angel Food Cake, and even a Nutty Dessert Topping as a replacement for high calorie chocolate sundae topping.

Pure Power BarWe also showcased Choclatique Pure Power—our delicious, gluten-free, protein packed peanut bar full of USA-grown peanuts and all natural ingredients. With over nine grams of protein, this is the perfect snack for an energy boost. It is available in two flavors—Pure Power Original and Pure Power Fruit with blueberries and tart cherries.

Some of the whole wheat and peanut flour desserts we presented included a Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Sapor (a Salvadorian peanut shortbread), fried Chocolate Peanut Butter Wontons and a variety of great peanutty desserts and breakfast cakes fashioned from puff pastry which included Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs (dumplings), Cigars, Bear Claws and Danish, all filled with peanut butter-chocolate ganache. There was even a freshly-baked and puffed Mediterranean Peanut Pocket Pita.

Yale University4The highlight of the workshop was our own version of Top Chef where our “students” had the opportunity to take the basic ingredients that we supplied and turn them into their own super-tasty inventions. While we had the chance to teach a group of talented bakers and pastry chefs all about baking with peanuts, they had the occasion to educate us on all that is Yale. It couldn’t have been a better marriage of food and education.

About National Peanut Board

The National Peanut Board (NPB) is a farmer-funded national research, promotion and education program. Each of the 10 major peanut-producing states has a grower Board member and an alternate representative. One at-large Board member also represents all minor peanut-producing states. Board members are nominated by state producer organizations and appointed by the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Through NPB, growers from across the United States come together to contribute to the research and promotion of USA-grown peanuts.

About Yale University

Yale CourtyardYale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

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