Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Au Coeur des Chocolates Part II - Truffles

au coeur des chocolates trufflesAll photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
For those who haven’t had the benefit of a classical education (a favorite saying of a friend’s father) Au Coeur des Chocolates translates to Heart of Chocolates. And, Master chefs Shawn Williams and Doug Basegio’s explore this concept with extravagant results.

Be prepared that the first thing you will do after opening a box of Au Coeur des Chocolates, is pick yourself off the floor. Because if you’re not knocked out by the incredible, smell of rich, wafting chocolate - so rich you could wear it, you will certainly be knocked out by the sheer beauty of the chocolates each as exquisite as a Sultan’s treasure.

Savoring each chocolate made me feel like as if I were the star in my own movie conjuring up images, feelings and moods. The first group of chocolates I savored au coeur des chocolates beautiful open box of chocolateswere fruity and took me to some unnamed exotic locale, wearing something loose, possibly organic (but still immensely flattering) apparel and with a perfect, seamless tan. This is the kind of movie where one goes on vacation, leaves their deranged world behind, finds true love and more importantly discovers their true self. My selection for this particular fare, included the Passion Fruit, the Yuzu (if you had the benefit of a classical education, you would know Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit) and the aptly named Candied Orange Hazelnut Crunch. Each chocolate is bursts in your mouth with sensational, vivid, sparkling flavor. The Yuzu, was especially outstanding: light, refreshing and tart.

Palet d’Or, Tahitian Dark Truffle and the Salted Caramel, take you to someplace entirely different, more of a film noir where the mood suggests some intrigue and mood lighting. Each truffle in this series explores the range and depth of chocolate. The Palet d’Or is made with Chefs Williams and Basegio’s favorite dark chocolate and is the perfect match for the exacting chocolate connoisseur, the aristocrat with the secret past if you will. And, while you might not consider the Tahitian Dark Truffle as a player a final feathery note of vanilla tells you not to underestimate this chocolate. My favorite though was the Salted Caramel. This is not an ordinary salted caramel that involves a basic caramel and salt. No. This is a smoky, buttery, silky caramel with a pinch of savory Maldon sea salt – the kind of chocolate that lurks in the shadows and is the key to your puzzle.

au coeur des chocolates beautiful chocolate box packagingWhile I have a great love for all cinema, my favorite types of movies are the ones that make you laugh – whether they are silly capers or targeted to 7 year old boys and girls. To me, there is nothing more meaningful to bringing a smile to someone’s face and the Caribbean Coconut, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Banana Caramel and Ginger deliver on the smile. The Caribbean Coconut is a sophisticated take with light coconut flakes, and the Crunchy Peanut Butter nutty and delightful. I was most taken with the Banana Caramel which is every bit as good as it sounds. This story line involves a banana cooked until it’s own sugars begins to caramelize, then has some additional caramel is twirled in and, if that were not enough, mixed with a rich, sinful chocolate ganache. The Ginger is one of the most beautiful chocolates I have ever seen. It is faceted like a jewel and then decorated with a sprinkling of tiny white and yellow dots. When I first saw it, my immediate reaction was to make some sort of excuse so I could hoard it somewhere forever and for my own, personal, selfish enjoyment. However, greed took over. Biting into the dark molded chocolate reveals a center ganache that is smooth and sensuous with a delicate taste of ginger and wild honey.

It's always sad when the lights come on and the curtain closes but with Au Coeur des Chocolates, you can at least console yourself that you will always have the perfect ending. Enjoy the Vanilla Latte, a light coffee flavored chocolate or the Peppermint Dark Chocolate as your last bite, while you ponder where your chocolate experience will take you.

au coeur des chocolates contact information

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Au Coeur des Chocolates - Part I - Nuts

Au Coeur des Chocolates Caramelized NutsAll photographs ©
Ron Dunlap/Doglight Studios
It’s ironic that you start life knowing exactly what you want and then end it in a frantic search for What It All Means. And that is exactly what is so brilliant about Au Coeur Des Chocolates. They’ve spent the time to figure out what lies at the heart of the most important thing in life – that thing being chocolate. So you can leave all your concerns aside and focus instead on finding somewhere you can lounge comfortably and enjoy some pretty amazing chocolates.

I have always been a finicky eater and I cannot tell you how many times someone has told me “you’d really like that (lamb, celery, tongue) if it were cooked right.” And then somehow, I would always get finagled into having to sample their expert rendition of lamb, celery or tongue, only to reinforce the fact that I don’t like it. So, my philosophy has always been, trust your gut. But I have found the exception to my rule. You may be wondering what I am getting to and it’s this: If you really believe you are not a chocolate-covered nut person, trust me, the only reason is that you haven’t had Au Coeur Des Chocolates Caramelized Nuts. The process in which Au Coeur Des Chocolates Caramelized Nuts are created is painstaking, but oh, so worth it. First, each tiny nut is toasted. Then when the nuts are at the peak of toasty-ness, they are cooked in sugar until the sugar caramelizes and each nut is covered in a light crunchy skin of caramel. Then they throw in a dash of salt to accentuate the flavors and the pièce de résistance is a generous, velvety coating of sumptuous, dark chocolate. To ensure quality and perfection, Au Coeur Des Chocolates employs tiny elves to oversee each exacting step. OK, this last part may or may not be true, but it sure tastes like it. Each bite takes you through the pleasurable taste sensations of the crunch of the nut, the crispiness of the caramelized coating, and then the feeling of smooth, silky, rich chocolate – all blended together in a way that will make you crazy in the same way catnip makes my cat William crazy. You will most certainly find yourself reaching in for “just one more” until the whole bag is empty – even if you are on a diet and your reunion, where you want to show your ex what they missed out on, is less than a week away.

Au Coeur Des Chocolates offers Caramelized Almonds and Caramelized Hazelnuts. You may be tempted to purchase Caramelized Almonds if you are on Team Almond or Caramelized Hazelnuts if you are on Team Hazelnut. But we highly recommend purchasing both, and, instead of troubling yourself about this seeming extravagance, muse on the dilemma of choosing between them and call it a day – a really good day.

au coeur des chocolates contact information

Labels: , , , ,