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Top Pick Of The Week

April 21, 2009

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Bespoke Chocolates

Bonbons and truffles from Bespoke Chocolates. Bespoke is a British term for custom-made, applicable to all of the lovely chocolates in this article. All photography by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE. Styling by Lauren LaPenna.

WHAT IT IS: Artisan chocolates.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The finest handmade chocolates, created with the best ingredients, imagination and love by small chocolatiers.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Imagination, dedication, craftsmanship and, of course, flavor and overall experience that’s worth every calorie.
WHERE TO BUY IT: See individual listings.
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The Chocolate Revolution: America’s Best Artisan Chocolatiers ~ Part IV


CAPSULE REPORT: When we were a New York City teen with a palate for good chocolate, we enjoyed Teuscher and Corné de la Toison d’Or, two classic Belgian brands that served a discriminating population. Then came the Godiva revolution—the real Godiva, imported from Belgium, made for Europeans. It was a very different experience before it came to be manufactured here and was Americanized. In its luxurious gold ballotin, for many years, to many Americans, Godiva meant “fine chocolate.”

Then, along with the rest of the food revolution that began in the 1970s, young American chefs and other culinary artists developed a new American cuisine. Along with it came artisan baking, cheesemaking and confectionary. In 1973, amid the Belgian chocolate shops on Madison Avenue, Tom Krön opened Krön Chocolatier with a new American vision of fine chocolate. Other young chocolatiers followed, melding European technique with American flair. Today, America is much like Europe, with numerous cities and towns boasting a notable artisan confectioner.

The chocolatiers in this article are a joy for chocolate lovers. Thanks to the internet, you can visit stores across the country and sample their wares. In Part IV of her sampling excursion, THE NIBBLE’s chocolate sleuth, Stephanie Zonis, presents her latest favorites for your consideration—and in enough time to order them for Mother’s Day gifts. Read the full review below, and enjoy her chocolate discoveries.

     
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Learn About Great Chocolate

Michel Cluizel Felchlin DeBrand Truffles
The World’s Great Chocolate Producers. Every boutique chocolatier uses “couverture chocolate” from a leading producer of fine chocolate in block form. Read about the world’s great chocolate houses that make the couverture. What Is Couverture Chocolate? Couverture (French for coating or covering) chocolate is the basis of all chocolate, as grapes are the basis of wine. Professionals use it to make all those bonbons and chocolate bars. Learn all about couverture chocolate. Understanding Truffles & Ganache. What is and what isn’t a chocolate truffle? To understand “real” truffles, you’ve got to understand ganache. Read our article, and you’ll have mastered both truffles and ganache.

The Chocolate Revolution: Artisan Chocolatiers ~ Part IV

INDEX OF REVIEW

This is Page 1 of a seven-page article. Click on the black links to visit other pages.

MORE TO DISCOVER

Introduction

And still they come, in a seemingly endless procession. Classically-trained pastry chefs, former assistants to celebrity chefs, those with bygone careers and degrees in chemical engineering and architecture and marine biology; everyone is jumping on the artisan chocolate bandwagon. Some have undoubtedly fallen victim to the corporate downsizings of the current recession and decided it’s time to pursue their passion, while others have simply fallen in love with the idea of making chocolates their way. It’s no easy path they tread, but then again all they need to succeed is persistence, talent, a work ethic that would have shamed a Puritan and an inordinate amount of good luck.

We’ll start with some advice about how to buy and consume these beauties—because as much as you’ll be tempted to keep them to stretch out the experience, you need to eat them up quickly! That’s right, we’ll twist your arm and tell you to eat these chocolates daily until they’re gone.

I’ll also explain why some chocolatiers are selected and others aren’t. If you don’t need enlightenment but are hungry to take a bite, skip to the review of the first chocolatier of our five featured artisans—as always, in alphabetical order.

Lucky Chocolates

How lucky can you get? With a box of bonbons from Lucky Chocolates, every bite makes you feel that today is a lucky day.

In cacao veritas!

— Stephanie Zonis

Continue To Page 2: About Artisan Chocolates

Go To The Article Index Above

 

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