October 23, 2004
I'm a new guy here and, in fact, know very little about chocolate, except for what I learned by baking and making pastries with it in my years as a chef. (Chefs rarely stray from the Callebaut/Guittard range)
I hung up my tocque last year and am now in the process of planning and licensing a new retail shop here in the Seattle suburbs. The shop will be mainly wine but will also sell cigars...and chocolate. Hence my presence here.
Problem is, I'm stocking wine and cigars for people who actually KNOW something about them. I want to draw in people who know a lot about chocolate but I don't know what to stock. I'll be tasting everything I can find around here for the next four months, and I know I'm carrying Scharffenberger and the Seattle chocolates: Fran's, Dilletante, Davenport, Seattle Chocolates, etc. But all this stuff I've been reading about here - Dolfin, Amedei, Domari, Cotes d'Oro and like that - I've never even seen. My wine tastes run to complex, characterful Italian stuff, Port, big Aussie Shirazes, everything from the Veronese, Spain, and the South of France (have no use for Bordeaux or Burgundy, OR Pinot in any form, although I'll carry them), so I have an educated palate and am definitely open to new tastes.
If any of you would like to offer ideas, I'd be eternally grateful; would, in fact, lay some wine on you if you ever show up around here and contact me. We do need a representative presence of milk chocolate, too, though. I know most chocolate afficinadoes I've talked with here consider it kinda simple, the way wine freaks sneer at "Fruit Bombs", but I still need ideas.
Thanks in advance for any help you are willing to offer!
"Imagine a world with no hypothetical situations."
April 29, 2004
well, i would suggest domori and amedei. both have milk chocolate as well, though domori's is with salt (which is fine by me).
the best milk chocolate i know is from artisan du chocolat and lists among its ingredients tonka beans.
many a good enoteca here in germany carries good pasta as well. in case this interests you try some martelli hand-made (from italy; i think the town is called lari or bari). the best!
October 10, 2003
The milk chocolate from L'artisan du chocolat is actually Valrhona's Jivara, added Tonca beans.
Valrhona is a well-known brand, but maybe too common for your shop?
I agree that Amedei and Domori are great. I have just tried Amedei's Gianduja - quite nice - nutty milk chocolate - don't know cocoa percentage though.
If you'd like to try something from France, I'd suggest Michel Cluizel (although I find the Mangaro milk bar a bit plastic like) and Bonnat. Bonnat has three lovely milk chocolates with 65% cocoa content.
It's not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let's face it, far more reliable than a man.
April 29, 2004
September 30, 2004
August 6, 2006
Cuba Venchi is an Italien brand with nice packaging. Gianjuja is a speciality but they have an interesting mixture of products. This includes a Milk flavoured with Cinnamon and Extra Dark "Cuor di Cacao" chocolate bars. They also manufacture cigarrs made of chocolate.
Consider this as a complement to the top brands mentioned: Amedei, Domori, Michel Cluizel and Valrhona. Amedei or Valrhona together with Cuba Venchi (if available in US) could make a nice mixture.
"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Marieel E. Presilla)
September 5, 2004
I think you need to clarify the "experience" you will be selling
FOr example, we (a chocolatier in London) supply a cigar bar in London which also stocks great spirits and coktails. They have opted for a few small chocolate bars but also several loose chocolates (bonbons) which customers can eat while smoking their cigars. They also stock one of our chocolates infused with pipe tobacco...
If you expect people to buy and enjoy at home only , probably chocolate bars only are fine as they are easier shelf life wise. I would suggest you start with easily available ones in the US like varhona (jivara, tanariva for milk, manjari and guanaja for dark). In parallel, learn about chocolate by tasting as many different bars as possible e.g. amedie, domori - which are very expensive and probably hard to get in the US and refine your offering with time. Chocolate palate like wine etc can only be developed by tasting but you need some good ok priced and not to hard to get bars to start.
If you are interested in the London cigar/bar venue, check http://www.floriditalondon.com