August 1, 2006
Well, although I had stated that I would buy no more chocolate until I finish what I have, temptation certainly won over me this time. After visiting La Maison du Chocolat, Marie Belle, Richart, and other chocolate boutiques in New York this week, I ended up with even more chocolate...and a stomach full of it too.
LoneLy, you would be jealous because I sat inside La Maison du Chocolat sipping a cup of Caracas hot chocolate. It was good, but because the chocolate was of a lower percentage (65%), it wasn't that strong. However, the flavor was still good; it was like sipping a thin ganache. I would have enjoyed it more if a chocolate of at least 72% were used. I bought a bar of La Maison's Orinoco 64%, but I think I pretty much know what to expect from it: fruitiness. Since Linxe uses Valrhona chocolate reformulated according to his specifications, I suspect that the Orinoco bar is simply Manjari conched for a longer time. La Maison's filled pieces are extremely good. The flavors are balanced extremely well, without any single flavor dominating another or sticking out too much. Subtle and balanced flavors are key here, not overpowering and distracting flavors. Because of the subtlty of the flavorings, a semisweet chocolate is used, and this doesn't bother me at all because if the chocolate were stronger, the balance would be ruined. I also had La Maison's pound cake (typical of all pound cakes: weak chocolate flavor because of the use of cocoa) and ice cream (good chocolate flavor, not of cocoa).
Since temptation won over me, I had to buy all three of Chocovic's bars, a bar of Amedei's 70%, and some Amedei iCru squares. I passed up quite a bit, though, including Rovira's 70% ($8 is more than I was willing to spend) and Cuba Venchi's spiced bar (priced at $4.50; not too bad I suppose). I think I ended up spending nearly $100, just on chocolate, including bars, truffles, hot chocolate, cake, etc., but it was worth it.