The Chocolate Life

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Sarah- Would love to taste and also see all those chocs from such cool places- can you post the wrapper pics w/ the tasting notes? Pretty please?
BTW did you see all the wrappers I posted? makes me smile just browsing thru them....mmmmm....
These will be up soon. I just shot the pix
Sarah, where can I purchase those "Former USSR" bars online? Names of bars might help me google if you don't have name of that Brighton Beach store.
Chocoflyer:

In case you didn't know, Choxotica is a member of The Chocolate Life.
Yes I invited him! Im glad he joined and cant say enough great things about the shop- wish you could see it , ever get to Tampa? For it to open in my town of all places (Oct 07) just blows me away- before them i had to mail order or travel to big cities to get the choc he sells, now its right up the street! There is chocolate god/ goddess looking over me........
Has anyone else seen the PREMIUM CHOCOLATE KIOSKS in AIRPORTS around the country? My airport here in FL has these fabulous stand alone kiosks labeled "Premium Chocolate" at all the news stands- they have been here about 4-5 months or so. They sell Scharffen Berger, Gold & Blacks, Dagoba, Guylian, Dove Rich Dark, Ghirardelli Intense Dark & squares, Cacao Reserve by Hershey, Nestle Treasures bar and truffles, and Hershey Organic. I think its so great to see better choc getting to this level, where the general public has way more to choose from than just the standard waxy Hershey bar (which by the way I see their Special Dark avail more than the milk lately...) Obviously our tastes are changing and all the advertising is paying off.....
So look out for these kiosks if you will- Im not sure if they are specific to this airport or not....hope not!
FYI I saw these same kiosks in San Francisco airport- that means they are being placed by some airport consortium because all the choc co's are totally diff- wouldnot be one brand putting them out. Look for these at the airports you fly too and report back! They are not stands with ppp llike a shop, just oneof the display kiosks in the news/ magazine areas.
Clay asked me to add my list of places to buy chocolate in Los Angeles. Here are the places where I've tried so far:

BonBonBars (no store, order online) – www.bonbonbar.com
Boule – another bonbon shop. They make great macarons in the French style and two different styles of bonbons (one molded buttons and the other enrobed with transfer styles on top). Interesting flavors, I like some of them but others I find a little greasy in texture. Great ice cream.
Chocolate Box Café – in La Canada. Not locally made but imported from Belgium. They have an interesting line of buttermilk ganache chocolates that deserve a look. Their best pieces are in milk chocolate.
Chocolates a la Carte – not the best chocolates in the world, but the factory store has some surprises, especially when they’re doing repack work for another brand and have items made with Valrhona (usually they use Callebaut) and of course everything’s very fresh at the factory.
Chuao Chocolatier – technically the closest one is in Orange County, but I enjoy their use of flavors and textures. El Rey chocolate.
Edelweiss Chocolates – very traditional chocolate sweets in Beverly Hills, their preserved fruits are very good.
Jin Patisserie – in Venice, known far and wide for their tea room and chocolates. I thought they were interesting but tiny and overpriced.
K Chocolatier – wildly expensive and quirky hours (weekdays) but some very tasty alcohol filled chocolate, generous samples.
L’Artisan du Chocolat – fresh, innovative & attractive. Oh, and expensive.
Littlejohn Toffee & Fudge – the fudge is okay, I think they have some great sponge candy covered in chocolate and New Orleans style pralines. Not really a chocolate shop.
Valerie Confections – right next door to L’Artisan du Chocolat, more on the elegant comfort side of things. Toffee, nougats, bonbons and now petit fours & tea cakes.

And stores for bars & boxes:
Cost Plus World Market – a decent selection & prices of the most popular fine import bars and usually at decent prices. Check expiry dates closely though.
Garvey Nuts – it’s a wholesale place in City of Commerce (just off the 5 near the outlet mall Citadel). They sell lots of novelty candies, including the better ones like Madelaine’s
Mel & Rose’s Wine & Spirits – immense selection of both upscale chocolatiers & bars as well as import consumer candies from all over Europe, Japan & Australia.
Mr. Marcel – at the Farmers Market. Good selection of chocolate bars, though the prices are often 50% more than Cost Plus which is just a few yards away.
Munchies – a little gem tucked away in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood that’s completely Kosher. They have a large selection of international stuff, mostly
bars and a great sale on Ritter (what can I say, I’m a sucker for Knusperflakes & their Rum Trauben Nuss).
Surfas - Culver City kitchen supply company that has a good selection of baking products and just plain old bars, including just about every Valrhona.

My local grocery stores tend to carry some good stuff too. I stumbled on a nice selection at Von’s the other day that included the full line of Chuao bars and a great sale on Ritter (what can I say, I’m a sucker for Knusperflakes & their Rum Trauben Nuss).

I keep pretty copious notes about them on my blog in the Los Angeles category.
Cybele:

This is a great list and I hope others will add to it. Is the l'Artisan du Chocolat an outpost of the London-based chocolatier of the same name?
No, this is a completely different L'Artisan. This one is run by Christian Alexandre and Whajung Park. It's a tiny little storefront and their inventory changes seasonally as the ingredients are available. I think the most surprising bonbon I had there was a white chocolate ganache with cucumber & vodka. The more traditional tea infused ones were also nice.

I know that they've attended the Chocolate Show in San Francisco before.
LAS VEGAS- who knew Vegas was such a choco lovers town? I have a layover there next week flying to OR so I casually looked into whats available and found a lot!

ETHEL'S CHOCOLATE LOUNGE- at Fashion Show Mall and the Ethel chocolate Factory nearby in Henderson, NV
ETHELS Choc shops- inside Flamingo Hotel and in every Terminal at McCarren Airport (LAS)

CHOCOLATE HEAVEN- inside Riviera Hotel

VOSGES HAUT CHOCOLATE- Inside the ultra fancy Forum shops at Caesars Palace hotel

CHOCOLATE SWAN- inside Mandaly Bay hotel

TEUSCHER SWISS CHOC- inside Planet Hollywood hotel

LENOTRE- inside Paris hotel

M&M WORLD- in Showcase Mall with VERY large marquee on the strip next to MGM hotel - can't miss it!

CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN inside Bellagio Hotel @ Jean Phillip Patisserie

GODIVA- inside Fashion Show Mall and Planet Hollywood hotel

ROCKY MT. CHOCOLATES- inside Planet Hollywood hotel

GHIRARDELLI- inside Imperial Palace hotel

if anyone has any to add, please do!
SAN FRANCISCO is truly a chocolate lovers paradise! I just visited and WOW was I impressed, here's a rundown of shops (if you need more details let me know- address, ph #s etc)

CHOCOLATE COVERED (over 325 diff brands, many rare and new, blew me away!)
RECCHIUTI CONFECTIONS
SCHARFFEN BERGER
TEUSCHER
RICHART
LEONIDAS
CHOCOLATE HEAVEN
SAN FRAN CHOCOLATE STORE
GHIRARDELLI
FUDGE HOUSE
SCHOGGI SWISS CHOC
FOG CITY NEWS (over 200 brands)(closed for Presidents Day when i was there- drat!!)
CONFETTI LE CHOC
MOONSTRUCK
LUV BOX CHOC
COCOA BELLA (sells fresh pieces from major artisan chocolatiers grouped by country- awesome)
Z CIOCCOLATO
XOX TRUFFLES
BITTERSWEET CAFE
BELGANO CHOC
CHOCOLATE ON CASTRO
JOSEPH SCHMIDT
SAN FRAN CHOC FACTORY
5 STAR TRUFFLES
CHRISTOPHER ELBOW CHOC (truly gorgeous and delicious, brand new in SF)
ROCKY MT. CHOC
GODIVA
SEE'S
TCHO- Opening shop summer 08 on Pier 17

PLUS ACROSS THE BAY....
Scharffen Berger Factory and Cafe Cacao in Berkley
Cosmic Choc in Oakland
Michael Mischer in Oakland
Charles Choc and Factory in Emeryville

If I missed any please let me know! I will add photos soon....

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