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Looking for suggestions other than bars
December 13, 2004
3:58 am
chocbloc
laurel, USA
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So far, I have just been ordering bars and/or squares and I would like to try some of the other stuff next time. I do like truffles, so is there one particular company that really does truffles the best? I am also willing to try the boxes of assorted candies, and the enrobed cocoa beans and such. Please chime in with stuff that you like. Tks.

Mike (restin' on my laurels and my hardys too)

Mike (restin' on my laurels and my hardys too)
December 13, 2004
6:07 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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My favorite is La Maison du Chocolat. Quite mild in intensity but balanced extremely well with excellent flavors. Each chocolate is a masterpiece. If heaven could be experienced in a chocolate confection, then La Maison is the route.

Marie Belle has some good pieces although a bit stronger in flavor.

Ricart has some interesting pieces as well, but his emphasis is more on the darker side of chocolate, so the flavors are more assertive.

If you're more of the adventrous type, try Andrew Schotts. Interesting pieces that combine jellies and ganache to form unique flavor and texture experiences.

Fran's is also excellent and perhaps easier to get. The Gold Bars are wonderful as are the salted caramels. Even her raspberry sauce is good.

December 13, 2004
8:44 am
alex_h
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my favorite truffles are australian handmade. or if u can get your hands on some of the real belgian stuff, go for it! when i mean real, i don't mean the stuff they make out-of-country. if i buy godiva or neuhaus here, i can pretty much forget it. buy it in or order if from belgium and it's to die for. dents the wallet nicely as well, but that is properly compensated for by the waistline ;-)

December 13, 2004
11:42 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Australian (the brand) is good, but Amedei and Pierre Marcolini is better, especially if you're used to dark chocolate. L'Artisan du Chocolat makes really good truffles too, but I don't know about availability 'over there'.

[i]"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
i]

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 13, 2004
1:31 pm
alex_h
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here in munich we apparently have truffles better than amedei's and cheaper... so i've heard.

December 14, 2004
4:05 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Yeah, not all of Amedei's truffles are great. Some of them are too sweet, others seems too fatty.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 14, 2004
4:56 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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La Maison du Chocolat is one of my favorites together with L'Artisan Du Chocolat and a local Chocolatier in Stockholm. Companies like Valrhona and Amedei are not able to compete on the same level.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Marieel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
December 14, 2004
6:30 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I thought Maison du Chocolat practically was the same as Valrhona. The Valrhona truffles I have tried are good but very unexciting, and I feel Amedei, L'Artisan du Chocolat and Pierre Marcolini give me more value for the money.

I haven't tried much of Maison du Chocolat's stuff because the staff gave some incredibly lame answers to my questions about flavors in their bars. (Even if the taste is the most important to me I keep wondering why chocolatiers leave their jewels to unskilled staff.) Visiting their shop in London is like going to a five star hotel; you see at least three different people from the door to the counter. I really can't see why these truffles need five guards that know nothing about them anyway. But maybe the taste justifies the costs ..

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 14, 2004
7:50 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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The founder of La Maison Du Chocolat, Robert Linxe, is called the wizard of ganache. Read more about Parisian Perfection at La Maison Du Chocolat:
[url]http://www.candyindustry.com/content.php?s=CI/2004/11&p=14[/url] By the way Marcolini also is at the top.

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Marieel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
December 15, 2004
6:03 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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La Maison is not the same as Valrhona, but Robert Linxe does use Valrhona chocolate. However, he processes it himself according to his own specifications, and the products are truly a world above anything else I've tried. You owe it to yourself to try these, LoneLy, and if you do, please do so devoid of any prejudices you might have with Valrhona.

December 15, 2004
6:12 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Oh, and I wouldn't allow an employee's lack of product knowledge to deter me from it. I felt the same way you did, LoneLy, when I visited Ricart's boutique. It was like walking into a jewelry store, with the chocolate situated behind glass cases accented by elegant lighting. The employees knew nothing of the chocolates they were selling. All they told me was that they were made with "very high quality Carenero chocolate," which indicated to me that they knew nothing of the product, except for what the pamphlets they were forced to read explained. Although they were quite ignorant, the chocolate was excellent. They certainly don't contribute to the sales because if their knowledge were more extensive, then perhaps they could further enhance their selling abilities thereby improving overall sales.

December 15, 2004
9:52 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I don't let any prejudices decide over taste, and there are of course some Valrhona truffles that are better than lets say Amedei truffles (e.g. hazelnut). What I do think is important is to be clear about where the chocolate comes from. This summer I tried truffles from Amedei, Valrhona, Pierre Marcolini, Maison du Chocolat ('only' six different though) and L'Artisan du Chocolat. It seems like Maison du Chocolat and L'Artisan are doing pretty much the same, ie. not making chocolate from the bean. However, the difference is that Maison's truffles are all made from Valrhona whereas L'Artisan's made from various sources, and this what was I wanted to point out. I do not like it when customers are given the impression that they buy genuine Maison stuff or genuine L'Artisan chocolat per se. And I cannot see any good reasons for hiding information about this either since Valrhona is a renowned brand (and a good one even in my opinion). As I have said a number of times, I am not fan of Valrhona's authority. It does not mean that I think it is not good, taste and preferences is a very personal thing anyway. I just don't like the idea that bars, truffles, whatever is good because it is Valrhona, neither because it is Amedei. Yet I admit I like the whole concept of Amedei better then Valrhona, although this doesn't decide which bars/truffles I like or buy. In the end, there are several Amedei bars that I don't care much about, some of them are even strange (like Ginseng!), others too sweet and too fatty (I think). However, those I really like are kind of elegant imo, and in comparison Valrhona becomes unexciting. The same applies to Maison du Chocolat. Even if they have some interesting truffles, they lack the wow-factor. But of course, maybe I didn't pick the best ones (or staff - they picked four, I picked two). To a large extent L'Artisan's truffles have this factor, and I do believe it is quite wise to select couverture carefully and not necessarily from one brand only (cf Montegrano's reply in topic Callebaut couverture). So, Monte, when you say Maison's truffles were a world above anything else you have tried, does it mean that your 'underworld' experience does not include L'Artisan du Chocolat, Pierre Marcolini and Amedei?

Staff's lack of knowledge came into play for a particular reason. I bought lots of different bars this summer - more or less the whole sortiment of high percentage bars from In't Veld in Berlin and several shops in London. I visited Maison du Chocolat on a late stage on this crazy race, well aware that I am not that much fan of fruity flavours. Hence I asked the staff about the various bars they had - I was very keen on trying, but spending money without knowing anything about their bars would have been quite a waste actually. Besides, I had not heard much about their bars in advance unlike Pierre Marcolini's, Rovira's, Bonnat's etc. (I would love to read reviews if anyone volunteer ...) I still have bars that I bought this summer that I haven't even opened, and I am still confused about those I have tried ;-)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 16, 2004
5:41 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Oh, I agree with you, LoneLy. A truffle doesn't automatically get elevated to the highest veneration just because it's made with Valrhona (or any other brand for that matter) chocolate. It all depends on the flavors too, and what the chocolatier does to the chocolate to transform it and combine it with the other ingredients. It's all about balance, imo, and I believe La Masion, although not bold or assertive with flavors, achieves that extremely well. The flavors are indeed extraordinary, and they just appeal to my personal tastes and preferences. Sourcing ingredients from different places certainly adds to complexity and avenues with which one can explore. It allows for greater variations, and by limiting yourself to one brand, you're thereby limiting your creations. However, some brands don't want to explore many flavor adventures and merely want to perfect traditional ones, and if they find a brand that works for them, then why should they switch?

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