Talking about chocolate, there are hierarchies of taste. At the top you have the very pure fine chocolate, made mostly of cacao, more bitter than sweet, while somewhere below we are getting closer to butterfat-enriched milk chocolate.
We have chosen our favourites just in time for Easter, when chocolate gives the season an extra kick, a boost of happiness, loaded with serotonin.
An independent chocolate maker based in Singapore. Their claim is: “We don’t limit ourselves to the type of base chocolate, whether it’s dark, milk or blond,” says co-founder Yilina Leong. “What’s most important to us is how we can create the flavour.” Each bar – made with premium, speciality cocoa from various direct-trade farms around the world – is designed to highlight fine and rare ingredients, or the founders’ latest culinary supplier. Recent flavours include Pekoe & Imp Chinese teas, seaweed from Tokushima Prefecture in Japan and toasted curry leaves. “We use chocolate as a canvas to showcase these flavours,” says Leong.
CHOCOLATE BY ALAIN DUCASSE
Chocolate is all about scent, and smelling a good quality chocolate is like indulging in a fine perfume. Perhaps this is why Alain Ducasse’s chocolate shops remind us of perfumeries, especially when we see the fine chocolate bars presented under a cloche. His concept goes from bean to bar, and of course he adds some goodies. For Easter, he decided to take his inspiration from a farm, creating chocolate objects, eggs and, of course, all kinds of animals, which he transformed into delicious chocolate cubes, now also available in Munich, Rosental 7.
A new generation of pastry chefs and food artists are responding to our desire for fine desserts by creating delicacies that look like art and, of course, taste real and superbe. One of them is Paris-based Patissiere Andrea Sham, who supplies the best restaurants in Paris with her organic, thoughtful culinary creations and is regularly asked to create sweet treats for the biggest luxury brands and special events. We love her floral dark chocolate cake.
PRADA, LOUIS VUITTON & CO
As a successful fashion brand, you have to be in the chocolate game. In December, Louis Vuitton teamed up with Chef Patissier Maxime Frédéric of Cheval Blanc in Paris to create fine monogrammed chocolates in their signature boxes.
And when you walk into the new Prada Café at Harrod’s in London, you could be forgiven for thinking you were about to enter a Prada boutique, this time without the shoe department, but with boxes of chocolates packaged like jewellery boxes.
CHOCOLATE BARS by PLAQ
Sandra Mielenhausen and Nicolas Rozier-Chabert opened their small chocolate factory on the Rue du Nil in Paris. They are known for their small production, using only the finest ingredients and a blend of flavours that will make you a regular. Our favourite, the Kamili 74% en provenance de Tanzanie, not to mention their devine graphic packaging, which makes a perfect gift. Plaqchocolat.com