Top Pick Of The Week

April 21, 2009

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Laurent Vals Chocolate

Laurent Vals creates the shapes and colors of an art gallery in chocolate. Photography by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE. Styling by Lauren LaPenna.

WHAT IT IS: Artisan chocolates.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Innovative shapes and colors.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Visual and palate flair—an edible modern art gallery.
(see details below).

America’s Artisan Chocolatiers ~ Part IV:

Laurent Vals Handcrafted Chocolates

This is Page 5 of a seven-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.




Laurent Vals Handcrafted Chocolate

Laurent Vals was born in Paris, raised in the south of France, and was just sixteen years old when he began his formal culinary education (what were you doing when you were sixteen?). At the ripe old age of twenty, M. Vals came to the U.S. to work as a chef in Charleston, South Carolina. For some years, he shuttled between Europe and the U.S. pursuing his culinary career, finally settling in Rhode Island to begin working with pastry. From there, it was a short step to chocolates, and he started as a full-time, self-employed chocolatier in January of 2008. His story is not dissimilar to the way in which other trained chefs have begun chocolate careers, but not everyone makes chocolates as superior as these.

The first thing you’ll notice is that these chocolates are very colorful. I’ll admit that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of color where chocolates are concerned; too many times, it’s used where the emphasis is on appearance and not on product quality. But these chocolates belie my old opinion. The chocolates are not only colorful, they’re sculptural—a tiny, edible modern art gallery in a box.

The visuals are striking, yes, but M. Vals also uses the excellent Guittard chocolate as the base couverture for his creations. One bite will convince you that all of the other ingredients he employs are first-rate as well.

Laurent Vals Chocolate

Edible modern works of art. From top left: Porto, caramel infused with Port and vanilla in dark chocolate; Desire, strawberry and orange blossom in white chocolate; and Sunset, a candied orange confit and caramel ganache in milk chocolate.

What to try? If you like white chocolate (or even if you think you don’t), try the Desire, where a tart strawberry filling with the tiniest hint of orange is held in an ideal balance with the white chocolate shell (photo above). Perhaps you prefer dark chocolate? If so, the Rochambeau is for you. This domed chocolate combines a strong raspberry flavor in a dark ganache, with a dark chocolate shell painted in glamorous, glittery purple (photo at top of page). Hazelcrunch is a winner, as well. Here, a crunchy milk chocolate ganache serves as a bed for a whole roasted hazelnut, and the piece is then covered in more milk chocolate.

As with all truly good chocolatiers, you can fill your box with only the chocolates you want, or you can let M. Vals make a selection for you. It would be hard to go wrong either way.

laurent vals handcrafted Chocolates
Artisan Bonbons

  • 6-Piece Box
  • 16-Piece Box
  • Other Sizes Available  

Purchase online* at

Telephone 1.401.846.1388

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. Purchase information is provided as a reader convenience.

Laurent Vals Chocolate

Continue To Page 6: Lucky Chocolates

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