Monday, June 2, 2008

French Chocolate Indulgences

My favorite chocolates do not come from Switzerland or Belgium, but from France. DeBauve et Gallais have been making chocolate for French royalty since 1800. I know most people won't fly to Paris to buy chocolate, but they do have a store in New York City, and they will ship all over the world. This chocolate was one of the things Marie Antoinette ate to help her swallow her medicine, but I think we would all take our medicine if we had to eat DeBauve et Gallais chocolate with it. DeBauve and Gallais make beautiful and whimsical shapes for the holidays. Their Easter eggs actually have brown shells and white interiors with yellow "yolks" that look so real you forget it is a confection. For golf lovers, they also make an edible golf ball that looks real enough to place on a tee. This kind of fine quality chocolate is very expensive, but once you taste a piece, you will be satisfied with just one piece (or maybe two). Because the smooth rich taste does not have fillers or the added chemicals of industrial commercial chocolate, all you get is chocolate purity and satisfaction.

Pierre Herme is another famous chocolatier who used to work with the famous Fauchon store until he created his own unique gourmet shops. Because of his reputation with Fauchon, he had an immediate following for his macaroons (small disks of light cake filled with creamy centers) with exotic flavors like lychee and rose petal. But his chocolates are in the primary showcase in a shop full of delectable cakes, jams, and pastries. If you are seeking chocolate which has surprising flavors (like a hint of salty caramel to bring out the sweetness), head to this destination. Unfortunately he only ships and has locations in Europe and Japan, but Fauchon has a store in New York and will ship to U.S. destinations.

Another favorite is Patrick Roger, who won the award for the best chocolatier (chocolate maker) in Paris last year. His creations are creative with flavors of saffron, ginger, even citronella. Unfortunately, you must travel to his shops or live somewhere in Europe to order his creations, but hopefully he will expand his delivery to the U.S. one day. Until then, his shop is a good reason to travel to Paris (as if anyone needs a reason to go to Paris).

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