The Chocolate Life

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Sweet Freak's Blog (19)

A one-two Parisian chocolate punch

Jean-Paul Hévin, Patrick Roger, Un Dimanche à Paris… I was certainly getting around to my favorite chocolatiers during my last weeks in Paris. But in the very last few days, I made visits to two brand new chocolatiers: Chloe Chocolat and Franck Kestener.

 

My own copy of Chloé Doutre-Roussel’s bible, The Chocolate Connoisseur (2005), is a tattered, stained mess from all the bonbons I consumed while reading about…

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Added by Sweet Freak on January 30, 2011 at 12:33pm — No Comments

There is something about Mary Chocolatier

Every since I saw a magazine article and photo of the crystal dishes filled with truffles at Mary Chocolatier in Brussels, I’ve wanted to go. So last weekend, I took Sarah and Jo on a death march to find the place.



It wasn’t easy, but it worth it.…

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Added by Sweet Freak on December 5, 2010 at 8:35am — 1 Comment

Salon du Chocolat in Paris

This weekend is the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.



My advice is to go with a big appetite, big pockets and a big checkbook. There is lots of sampling and plenty of temptation.



There’s hot chocolate and chocolate spreads.…

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Added by Sweet Freak on October 29, 2010 at 12:19pm — 2 Comments

February Tour: In the heart of chocolate darkness

Before I moved to Paris, I had only a vague understanding of the city’s layout and, more important, its sweet spots. Now I can feel (and taste) my way around. And whenever I have to do an errand in the first arrondisement, I prepare myself for lusting after things I can’t afford on rue St-Honoré, but taking solace in the fact that I can at least splurge on <span style="font-style:italic;">something</span> sumptuous: chocolate—in solid or liquid form—at one of city’s, nay country’s,… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on March 7, 2010 at 12:54pm — 2 Comments

October Tour: Saint-Germain’s rich and dreamy chocolate trail

In honor of the Salon de Chocolat (which I didn’t go to this year) this month’s walking tour takes you to some of Saint-Germain’s best chocolatiers. After all, you can toss an M&M in any direction in the sixth arrondisement and hit a world-class chocolatier—especially now that Patrick Roger has opened two new boutiques there.



Start at one of them, 91 rue de Rennes, and see what magical window displays the creative chocolate genius has whipped up. After admiring the fantasies and… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on October 18, 2009 at 4:32am — 2 Comments

Pralinés good enough for kings

Founded in 1800, Debauve & Gallais is the oldest chocolatier in Paris.





Sulpice Debauve, a pharmacist by training, opened the boutique after the Revolution and gradually built a reputation across the continent for exquisite chocolates. By 1818, he was appointed King Louis XVIII’s chocolate supplier, and then… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on August 23, 2009 at 12:21pm — 6 Comments

To the moon!

I’ve always loved Patrick Roger’s chocolates and his chocolate sculptures. But with the window display at his new Faubourg Saint-Honoré boutique, my appreciation is going to new heights (hardy har har).…



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Added by Sweet Freak on July 20, 2009 at 5:49am — No Comments

The Biarritz chocolate train

How do I explain this one? A sixth sense for cacao? An exquisitely attuned nose that enables me to detect almond paste from over 400 miles away? Faith that any place in France is going to have to-die-for bonbons?



When I booked my trip to Biarritz, I knew rugby, pelote and thalassotherapy spa treatments were big. But I had no idea that the region had a storied chocolate history. I swear.



It was only on the TGV from Paris, furiously… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on May 25, 2009 at 5:24pm — 2 Comments

A local legend

Denise Acabo. The name doesn’t mean much to 99.9% of the world’s population, but those who do know it are fanatical about the woman, her Parisian chocolate parlor and her devotion to France’s best chocolatiers and candy makers.







With a daily uniform of long blonde braids, a tartan plaid skirt, and the sexy-schoolmarmish blend of bifocals and Chanel No 5 that… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on May 14, 2009 at 4:57pm — 10 Comments

Dueling cakes

It’s been sixteen years since I’ve seen my friend Bessie’s cousin, Bessie, but I had the chance to catch up with her this weekend at Jean-Paul Hevin's salon de thé.



We were modest and French enough with our meals—quiche for Bessie, salad for me, wine for us both. Less so with dessert. It’s a chocolatier, after all—my favorite one at that. We had to have chocolate cake.



For all its poshness, the salon has these weird oversized, laminated menus with pictures and descriptions… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on April 14, 2009 at 2:30am — No Comments

How to decorate for Easter

Last year I was excited for Peeps from Bethlehem. This year, I’m enjoying the over-the-top molded chocolates in Paris.



To be clear: I’m not sampling every chocolate bunny or chick—I have to show some restraint. Besides, seeing the elaborate window displays around town is almost as satisfying as tasting the edibles within.



Michel Cluizel has chocolate eggs by the… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on April 12, 2009 at 2:30am — 2 Comments

The mixing bowl: Rachel Zoe Insler



The first time I bit into a Bespoke truffle, I was instantly smitten. But the first time I met Rachel Zoe Insler, I was wowed. She's got the smarts and talent of a chocolatier trained in London, but the cool down-to-earth vibe of someone who's passionate about the city and can cop to… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on April 5, 2009 at 3:53am — No Comments

Poisson d'Avril

To the French, April 1 is “Poisson d’Avril.” The idea is generally the same as April Fool’s—to play practical jokes on others—but they do so by attaching fish to unsuspecting others’ backs (á la a “kick me” sign).



But what really interests me about the French interpretation of the “holiday” are the chocolates everyone gets to celebrate. You can find dime store bags of molded fish, clams, seahorses and the like—either in milk, dark or white chocolate. But the top-notch chocolatiers… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on April 3, 2009 at 5:45am — No Comments

Chocolate heaven

I'd heard about Food Emporium's vast Chocolate Shop and yet couldn't bring myself to believe it would be anything extraordinary. Since I'm the first to admit when I'm wrong, I must admit: I was wrong. Very, very wrong. This place is chocolate heaven.…

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Added by Sweet Freak on February 19, 2009 at 5:58pm — No Comments

Behold, Bespoke is open

Rachel and Gil are ready! The city was kind enough to finally hand over those permits so us chocoholics can get our fix at the lovely new Bespoke Chocolates. All I have to say is: get ready, people.



These truffles are some of the best I have ever eaten (though Mr. B's birthday bonbons were pretty crazy, and I still put Kee's on a pedestal, and then there… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on February 17, 2009 at 11:49am — No Comments

Sweet Freak scoop: Hot Chocolate Festival comes a day early

Just as I was reminding Alex that we're six days out to City Bakery's month-long Hot Chocolate Festival, I got a message from Maury: the festival not only starts a day early, but is staying open late to celebrate.



The 17th annual festival kicks off this Saturday, the 31st, at the normal opening hour of 7:30 a.m. But just in case you're… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on January 27, 2009 at 3:47pm — No Comments

Manhattan's best 5 cups of cocoa

Because it's snowing in New York. Because it's the holiday season. And because it's one of the silver linings of winter: these are the hot chocolates you don't want to miss.



Jacques Torres

When you walk into Chocolate Haven Soho, the heavenly scent of chocolate is all around you. Belly up to bar and order my personal favorite: the peanut butter hot cocoa.…



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Added by Sweet Freak on January 24, 2009 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Nunu now open

Nunu has new digs from which to peddle its oh-so-lovely chocolates. Two years after starting the company, they have appropriately cute space on Atlantic Avenue, not so far away from Sweet Freak favorites Atlantic Diner and Betty Bakery.



The hot cocoa and tea are still coming, but all the caramels and ganaches are ready to be snapped up. Like the best selling hand dipped… Continue

Added by Sweet Freak on January 22, 2009 at 1:30pm — No Comments

The stealth attack of Bond Street Chocolates

While we've all been waiting for Bespoke Chocolates to debut, Lynda Stern—bam!—opened Bond Street Chocolates on 4th Street. God, I'm loving the East Village these days.…



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Added by Sweet Freak on January 21, 2009 at 1:30pm — No Comments

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