Tag Archives: Chocolate

cacao changes lives

Cacao Changes Lives: Food ‘Nobel Prize’ Winner

In Venezuela, a country on the brink of collapse from a crippling food shortage, a quiet but swiftly growing group of female entrepreneurs has poured their hopes for the future into a chocolate-covered, fruit bonbon. The woman credited with setting this powerful movement in motion was honored at gala event in San Sebastian last week, attended by some of the most influential chefs in the world.

It is a big dream packed into a small bite-sized confectionery.

But for chef and chocolatier Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, the inaugural recipient of the Basque Culinary World Prize, the notion of solving the food crisis with a luxury food item makes sense given Venezuela’s long history of cacao production.

Last week, Di Giacobbe accepted the award pitched as the Nobel Prize of the food world, for having empowered 8,500 of her fellow countrywomen in a poetic story that marries two Venezuelan culinary traditions and has taken on a life of its own.

The award, launched this year, recognizes chefs who’ve improved society through food. Di Giacobbe was announced as the winner in July.

When Di Giacobbe opened her chocolate shop Kakao in Caracas in 2004, the idea was to pair local Criollo cacao beans – among the most prized in the world – with childhood favorites candied fruits and jellies.

Di Giacobbe trained 30 women to start, during a time when Hugo Chavez was in power. Unbeknownst to her, the chocolates would come to represent more than just a unique Venezuelan confectionery. For one woman, it would allow her to stop being dependent on Chavez’s unemployment stipend and become an independent chocolate entrepreneur.

cacao changes lives

Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe of Venezuela, winner of the Basque World Culinary Prize

Invigorated by their new skills, the women would fan out to other communities of their own accord, teaching other women about what they’d learned.

The domino effect would eventually spur Di Giacobbe to open Cacao de Origen, a training space that teaches women how to transform cocoa beans into chocolate.

“It’s not all my work,” Di Giacobbe said in an interview. “When you feel you can change, that you can create a better future, women work with generosity and happiness. This is very beautiful.”

Meanwhile, in light of the deepening food crisis, Di Giacobbe sees a bigger role for cacao in Venezuela.

“Cacao is inside the people of Venezuela. All of our stories, culture, religion are around cacao,” she said.

For centuries, Venezuela was among the biggest cacao producers in the world and became one of the first countries to export the commodity around 300 years ago, she explains.

Then the country shifted to an oil-based economy, and cocoa production shrunk to small-scale, family affairs.

But where it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Venezuela is known for its Criollo cocoa bean, prized among the world’s top chocolatiers for its complex flavors and aromas.

Di Giacobbe believes that resurrecting Venezuela’s cacao production and shifting the economic focus away from oil can help restore pride in a long-lost heritage and place the country on a new, brighter path.

“Cacao is a product that is a vehicle for change.”

Di Giacobbe plans to use the €100,000 award to expand Cacao de Origen and teach students not only about the principles of bean to bar, but how to start their own businesses.

Vintage Chocolate by To’ak for Easter

Its still early in March but you can’t deny that we are just hopping straight into Easter, pun intended. In time for the egg hunts and bunny jokes is a new vintage dark chocolate by creative chocolate company To’ak. Having made a name for itself in 2014 for a bar of dark chocolate that cost $60, it perhaps no wonder that To’ak’s follow up is far more costly at $345.

Dubbed the world’s first vintage chocolate, the 200 bars are made of the same harvest that produced its first foray into the world of luxury chocolates. Using cocao from the heirloom Nacional Cacao in the valley of Piedra de Plata in Ecuador, this is some of nature’s best in a bar. The crafting of the 50-gram bar chocolate is an 18-month aging process in a 50-year-old cognac cask. This allows for a more rounded flavor profile to emerge and also reveal subtle notes that would have been overshadowed. Each bar is packaged into a handcrafted Spanish Elm wood box engraved with the bar number and includes a 116-page booklet detailing the science behind the ageing process. The packaging is completed with a pair of hand-made tasting utensils.

The Ecuadorian company, founded in 2007 from a rainforest conservation project, selects each cocao by hand to ensure that only the best beans are used. Unlike other dark chocolates that are mixed with various ingredients, the chocolate produced by To’ak consists of cocao mass and cane sugar that are grown organically.

To give you an idea of just how meticulous the selection process is, To’ak initially produced 500kg (1,102.31 lbs) of chocolate. Of this, only 10% was used for the first release in 2014, producing 900 bars. From there, only 574 bars were packaged while the remaining chocolate produced, was used for experiments and special releases, such as the vintage release. Should To’ak ever need taste testers or manpower to clear away the 326 rejected bars, they know where to find me.

To’ak Chocolate can be purchased at the official To’ak Chocolate website or at selected retailers in the U.S and at Harrods in London.

Belgian Chocolatier Goes ‘Bean-to-Bar’ for Best Taste

Chuao, Baracoa, Hacienda Rio Peripa: when it comes to cocoa beans, it turns out there are vintages just like there are for fine wines, says Belgian chocolate maker Benoit Nihant.

In a country where chocolate is a source of national pride, Nihant is one of around a dozen “bean-to-bar” makers who go direct to the source in Africa, the Americas and Asia to get the best possible taste.

And it is the Chuao plantation on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, where the beans dry beneath the sun in the village square before a blue and yellow church, that produces the finest chocolate in the world, experts say.

The select group including Nihant and his fellow Belgian Pierre Marcolini are now trying to transform the often traditional world of chocolate making by mastering the process from the bean harvest to the creation of elaborate confections.

“It took us three or four years to really master, to understand the impact of the work on the plantations on the chocolate itself,” says the 41-year-old Nihant at his shop in Awans, near Liege in southern Belgium.

After starting out as an iron and steel engineer in the Belgian rustbelt, Nihant says he had a revelation just before he turned 30.

“I suddenly realized that I hadn’t chosen my career, my destiny,” he says. “I really wanted to create something, and to live my passion on a daily basis.”

‘Chocolate is made with love’

That passion was chocolate, accounting for the attention to detail that now informs his work.

“Good chocolate is made with love. Good chocolate is made with beans which come from a small plantation, which have been chosen and not mixed with the harvest from a neighbouring plantation,” he explains.

“It’s chocolate where the grower is aware of what the chocolatier wants and respects all the steps of fermentation and drying without taking shortcuts.”

Most of the world’s major chocolate makers buy their chocolate ready-made from a small group of multinational firms which mix beans from different sources for a more consistent taste.

But for his chocolate, Nihant has hand-picked nine plantations after a series of journeys, in Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Madagascar and Bali in Indonesia. Soon he hopes to source beans from Peru, where he recently bought land.

He imports 25 tonnes of beans a year in a country that produces a massive 650,000 tonnes of chocolate a year, mostly by big brands including Godiva, Leonidas and Neuhaus.

Going direct to the source does not come cheap, though. He buys his beans for between six and 12 euros (US$6.50 to US$13) per kg, whereas ready-made chocolate is sold to manufacturers for 3.50 euros per kg.

Chocolate fans pay the price in the end for their pleasure: a 50-gram (nearly 2-ounce) Benoit Nihant bar costs between 4.20 euros and 7.20 euros.

Changing Tradition

It’s not just the cocoa beans that have been taken back to their roots. Behind a big window in his workshop, watched by curious customers, are two huge machines.

One dates from the 1950s and was rescued from an abandoned chocolate factory in Asia. The other, for grinding, has two huge granite wheels which turn the roasted and crushed beans into chocolate liquor, the base for all recipes.

The machine dates from the 19th-century and was being used as a decoration in a factory in Greece, but was restored thanks to the know-how of Belgian workers.

“These are the techniques which give you flavor,” Nihant says.

It is the operator’s job to determine when the cooking process is finished, a crucial yet precise step which extracts the taste from the cocoa.

It’s this process that allows Nihant to make a 70 percent dark chocolate that has strong taste without the bitterness.

The chocolatier has made his own expertise the centerpiece of his Christmas window display: five stars representing each of the “grand cru” or major “vintages” of chocolates that he makes.

The one in the middle is stuffed with praline made with lightly salted pecans. Nihant started off his business in the garage of his parents-in-law and in 10 years he has expanded three times.

Today, he has four shops in Belgium while his chocolate is also sold in around a dozen shops in Japan and is in talks to open in China and the United States, as well as a tie-in with the famed Harrods department store in London.

“We are a generation which is turning tradition and the old way of doing things on its head. We’re doing our bit for the Belgian tradition,” he says.

Golden ticket: Kit Kat Limited Edition in Japan

For chocolate lovers with cash to burn and dreams of Willy Wonka, a gold-coated Kit Kat bar will hit stores in Japan late November, but at an eye-watering 2,016 yen (US$16) a finger it will only be available for the lucky few.

Unlike in the famous children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the luxury chocolate bar won’t be randomly scattered among regular Kit Kats in shops.

Instead, 500 of the single bars will be made and sold only in the country, according to Nestle Japan, which has produced over 200 flavors — from strawberry to green tea and even wasabi — since introducing the chocolate treat there in 1973.

“In Japanese convenience stores, consumers are used to having new varieties all the time,” Nestle Japan spokeswoman Melanie Kohli told AFP on Thursday. “Japan is a very unique market.”

Nestle’s limited edition “Sublime Gold” one-finger treat, which is covered in gold leaf and described as having a rich, bitter chocolate taste, will go on sale at chocolate boutiques in eight swank department stores from Tokyo to Sapporo in the north and Fukuoka in southern Japan.

“We have made it a luxury product,” Kohli said of the gold bars, which could be a popular treat during the holiday season. “Not like you probably remember from your childhood. It’s a special occasion, to celebrate the end of the year.”

Kohli added that Japan’s “omiyage” culture of bringing regional gifts back for family and work colleagues after trips away was another reason for Kit Kat’s success with its various flavors.

“Like you have wasabi from Shizuoka and strawberries in Kyushu,” she said.

“Japan is the only place where you can have such a variety of Kit Kat flavors, something linked to that regional culture.”

Wasabi, related to horseradish, is a notoriously hot Japanese condiment served with sushi and sashimi.

Kit Kat, traditionally a four-fingered chocolate bar, currently offers around 30 different flavors in Japan, including Okinawan sweet potato, Yokohama cheese cake and Kobe pudding.

Maison Pierre Marcolini chocolate box

Pierre Marcolini x Maison Kitsuné

Maison Pierre Marcolini chocolate box

Maison Kitsuné has teamed up with the haute chocolate brand Pierre Marcolini to create an exclusive bento box full of creative sweets.

A surreal touch when you open the box: a sliding system that lengthens the body of the fox on the interior trays. The traditional touch is provided by the ‘tenugui’ fabric and ‘furoshiki’ bow that encircles the box.

DON’T MISS: THE TOP 10 CHOCOHOLIC COUNTRIES

Maison Pierre Marcolini Maison Kitsune

This pretty Bento holds a selection of chocolates and macarons: Ten tasty hearts in different colors and a selection of classics from Maison Pierre Marcolini or two trays lined with a selection of macarons.

Available from April 22nd in Maison Kitsuné Parisian Boutiques & Cafés and in Pierre Marcolini stores.

Chef Martin Chiffers

Is this the world’s most expensive Easter bunny?

Chef Martin Chiffers

It took a master chocolatier, cocoa from Tanzania and two solitaire diamonds to create what’s being billed as the world’s most extravagant chocolate Easter bunny, worth $49,000 – or, the price of a high-end car.

DON’T MISS: UK HOTEL UNVEILS MOST EXPENSIVE DESSERT

The bunny statuette measures 38 cm (about a foot tall) and weighs in at 5 kg (11 lbs) – the weight of an average cat – equal to 548,000 calories.

But what makes this particular edible animal over the top is its eyes, a pair of 1.07-carat solitaire diamonds valued at more than $37,320.

Easter bunny

Commissioned by British luxury retail site VeryFirstTo.com, the chocolate bunny was carved by pastry chef Martin Chiffers, former Chef Décor of Harrods in London, and took two days to complete.

Diamonds were supplied by 77 Diamonds in London, which claims to possess the largest selection of diamonds in the world.

Orders must be placed by March 28 at veryfirstto.com.

Swiss Chocolate

How to taste chocolate like an expert

Swiss Chocolate

Like fine wine, exceptional chocolate deserves to be tasted with great care and attention to the details: color, aroma, length on the palate…

Cacao creations can be even more delectable when a few basic guidelines are followed.

As the 20th edition of the Salon du Chocolat prepares to open in Paris later this month, we get a five-step introduction to chocolate tasting from Victoire Finaz, an expert  taster and chocolatier.

1/ Taste with your eyes

Like the color of a fine wine, the shade of a chocolate square can be telling. “The cacao bean is purple to begin with. During the harvesting process, and then the roasting process which toasts it, the bean changes color.”

“In the chocolate stage, it should have a mahogany color, which is to say brown with a reddish tint. This is a criterion of quality,” says Victoire Finaz.

2/ Choose the right setting

Fine chocolate should be savored in the right conditions, which means a quiet location with a temperature of around 21°C/70°F.

The morning is the best time to partake in serious chocolate tasting, and it is preferable to taste on an empty stomach, or even when slightly hungry, after avoiding eating for at least two hours. Of course, since eating chocolate has been shown to trigger the release of endorphins, any tasting experience has the potential to be ideal if it has an emotional component.

3/ Seek a fruity aroma

“Chocolate should not smell too much like sugar, or even like vanilla. It’s a bad sign. On the contrary, it should give off fruity notes,” she explains. One can also evaluate whether the aromas are subtle or powerful.

4/ Find what you like

“You have to find what you like, and decide what is the right balance between sweet and chocolate tastes,” concludes Finaz.

It is also important to pay attention to notes that are astringent, acidic and “too toasted” to fully evaluate a given chocolate.

“It can happen that the chocolate is not in the best shape and has a grainy texture,” warns the expert. For those interested in learning how to evaluate the different aromas, Finaz recommends choosing pure chocolate bars rather than truffles or other chocolate candies.

She also advises against buying the chocolate at the supermarket for an optimal tasting experience.

5/ Let it linger on the palate

A strong and persistent flavor that remains on the palate after the chocolate is gone is one sign of character and quality.

Fine chocolate

Lemon and chocolate

Want To Know The Chocolate Trends Of 2015?

With the 20th edition of the Salon du Chocolat — the world’s biggest  fair — set to open in Paris later this month, here’s a look at some emerging trends that chocoholics can look forward to finding on their grocery store shelves, according to global market research group Mintel.

DON’T MISS: THE TOP 10 CHOCOHOLIC COUNTRIES

Lemon and chocolate

Lemon and chocolate

Though chocolate and orange have long been best friends in the confectionery world, another citrus fruit is getting some chocolate love: lemon. In fact, according to Mintel, the number of lemon-flavored chocolate products have doubled over the past year globally.

Dessert within a dessert

Dessert within a dessert

Confectionery makers are pimping out chocolate to make it even more decadent by creating dessert-flavored, well, desserts.

Think crème brulee, tiramisu, milkshake and ice cream-flavored chocolates.

Chocolate-covered…vegetables?

Chocolate-covered vegetables

In Asia, where the sweet tooth is much weaker than the Western world, vegetables are being used to cut cloyingly sweet taste chocolate flavors.

In 2013, there was wasabi-flavored chocolate. Now there’s chocolate-covered edamame and purple sweet potato chocolate, made with white chocolate and purple potato paste.

Raspberry-flavored chocolate is so 1990s

chocolate and peach-fruit filling

Strawberry, raspberry and cherry have all had solid turns in the chocolate spotlight. But in Poland, consumers are being treated to chocolate and peach-fruit filling, an overlooked but underestimated fruit pairing.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus, the ingredient that’s become commonplace in teas, is also finding its way into chocolate. And as Mintel notes, while floral-scented chocolates aren’t common, it’s an avenue they anticipate will be explored.

Marou chocolate from Vietnam

Marou chocolate from Vietnam

Like coffee and wine, the notion of chocolate terroir is becoming increasingly popular. Serious chocolate lovers are learning that cacao from different countries — Venezuela, Ivory Coast, and relative newcomer Vietnam — have different taste profiles.

Pistachioes

Pistachioes and chocolate

Here’s the traditional pecking order when it comes to nuts and chocolate: The top nut ingredient is hazelnuts, followed by almonds and peanuts.

But according to Mintel, consumers can expect to see a more diverse nutscape including pistachios, and a blend of seeds and nuts.

One interesting riff on chocolate-covered almonds comes from Canada, with the Rogers’ Chocolates Natural Dark Chocolate Chipotle Almonds.

Roberto Cavalli chocolate Easter eggs

Easter 2014: the best luxury eggs

Roberto Cavalli chocolate Easter eggs

Design houses like Roberto Cavalli and Armani are creating some of the chicest Easter eggs on the block, enrobing confectionery in animal-inspired prints and wrapping their Easter collections with a pink sash.

Cavalli’s springtime ode, for instance, comes in the form of a trio of zebra and giraffe-inspired white, milk and dark chocolate eggs that contain a pendant gift. The 140-gram egg carries a luxury price tag at €49.

Eggs can be purchased online and are shipped within Europe but are also carried at the designer’s Florentine coffee shop Caffe Giacosa, an historic 19th century landmark that has served nobles and Italian royalty.

Armani Dolci chocolate Easter collection 2014

Armani Dolci’s Easter collection is also a dressed up version of the grocery store Easter egg and comes in seasonal, floral packaging. The box is wrapped in a pink satin ribbon and includes a silver-plated frog pendant.

The brand’s Easter collection includes praline-filled eggs and bonbons for between €24 to €29. Armani Dolci chocolates ship worldwide.

Chocolatier Jacques Torres

Meanwhile, master chocolatier Jacques Torres is hoping to break a world record for the most expensive chocolate egg sold at auction, as part of New York’s charitable Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, going on now.

The Easter egg stands 30 inches tall (76 cm) and weighs 120 lbs (54 kg) while depicting iconic New York landmarks and its cityscape. Online bids are currently being placed at bit.ly/1fLomCZ. Bidding closes April 22.

chocolate spa

Japanese take chocolate spa for Valentine’s Day

A hot spring resort in Hakone, Japan, is offering customers a chance to relax in chocolate baths for Valentine’s Day.

Yunessun spa resort customers paid 27 USD for the twice daily bathing session which some women believe will lead to good skin and smell. In Japan, it’s traditional for women to buy gifts for men on February 14.

chocolate spa

So for those wondering what to give their Valentine, perhaps, in 2015, instead of a box filled with chocolate, it will be a tub filled with chocolate instead!

Vosges introduces ‘Hunger Games’ inspired chocolates

Vosges Haut-Chocolat luxury truffle collection

If the main “Hunger Games” heroine Katniss Everdeen were a confectionery, the lady warrior would be a bar of milk chocolate, flavored with hickory-smoked bacon and accented by sweet, crisp apples.

That’s according to premium Chicago-based chocolate-maker Vosges Haut-Chocolat, which has released a range of new products inspired by the blockbuster sci-fi hit.

Launched to coincide with the highly anticipated silver screen sequel “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the new Vosges chocolate series ranges from a luxury $225 truffle collection dubbed The Capitol to $5 chocolate bars created to represent some of the different districts of the dystopian state.

To evoke District 10, for instance, where livestock is produced, the chocolate bar combines a smoky, salty, mesquite-flavored beef jerky with milk chocolate.

Earthy, chipotle chilis are likewise used to conjure up images of District 7’s lumber industry. The District chocolate bars are part of the company’s grocery store brand Wild Ophelia and are sold at Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway.

Vosges chocolatier Katrina Markoff also retells the sci-fi adventure through her luxury, pre-party, 18-course chocolate tasting collection.

Included in The Capitol Truffle Collection are 36 bonbons in flavors like rosemary, pink peppercorn and white chocolate as well as coconut, banana and dark chocolate, rolled in coconut charcoal ash.

But the box set goes beyond just chocolate. Underneath the luxury bonbons are 16 vials of crushed violet petals, pearl dust, gold leaf and matcha tea and a set of mixology instructions that allow fans to create cocktail pairings for different truffles.

Company founder Katrina Markoff is an award-winning chocolatier who has apprenticed under Spanish culinary legend Ferran Adria. Vosges has also been named one of the top 10 Best Chocolatiers in the World by National Geographic.

“The Hunger Games” chocolates are the latest food or wine cinematic and TV tie-up. “Downton Abbey” has its own line of wines while “Breaking Bad” has its own beer.

Hunger Games Chocolate Sets

The top 10 chocoholic countries

Swiss Chocolate

Switzerland is home to the most devoted chocoholics in the world, where per capita consumption averaged about 12 kg in 2012, according to Confectionerynews.com. Rounding out the list of top chocolate-consuming countries are Ireland, the UK, Austria and Belgium. The US falls in at No. 15.

Given that chocolate is considered a small luxury, it’s no wonder that the majority of the top 20 countries boast a large middle class population with higher disposable incomes than the rest of the developing world, the report points out.

Meanwhile, though it doesn’t come close to cracking the top 20 list, India has emerged as the fastest-growing market for chocolate, with sales doubling from $418 million in 2008 to $857 million in 2011.

Per capita consumption in India was 70 g in 2011. But as pointed out by market research group Mintel, that just means potential for growth is high in this booming economy, where the appetite for premium, luxury goods shows strong growth.

Where the sweet stuff is having difficulty making inroads, however, is China, a country where palates are more accustomed to salty, savory foods over sweets.

The average Chinese eats a modest 100 g of chocolate a year — or the equivalent of two chocolate bars. Growth in the market is also projected to increase a lukewarm 10 percent to 2015.

While chocolate is an everyday treat in the Western world, chocolate makers like Italy’s Ferrero Rocher and Belgian brand Godiva are pitching the confectionery as a premium product ideal for gift giving.

Here are the Top 10 chocolate-consuming countries in 2012 – based on per capita consumption

1. Switzerland 11.9 kg
2. Ireland 9.9 kg
3. UK 9.5 kg
4. Austria 8.8 kg
5. Belgium 8.3 kg
6. Germany 8.2 kg
7. Norway 8 kg
8. Denmark 7.5 kg
9. Canada 6.4 kg
10. France 6.3 kg

melted chocolate

Alain Ducasse opens a chocolate boutique in Paris

Alain Ducasse le chocolat

Alain Ducasse has thrown his chef’s hat into the increasingly saturated Parisian chocolate scene with a bean-to-chocolate store that will open this week.

Set in the heart of Bastille inside what was formerly a garage, Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse is the culmination of a 30-year-old dream for the Michelin-starred chef who put chocolatier Nicholas Berger in charge of the boutique.

The premise? A bean-to-bar chocolate shop, where cacao beans will be roasted on-site before being melted, tempered and handcrafted into bonbons, bars, pralines and ganaches.

Cacao beans are sourced from countries as diverse as Madagascar, Peru, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Vietnam, while ganaches and bonbons are flavored with everything from lime, blackcurrant, mint, prune-Armagnac, coconut-passion fruit, vanilla, coffee and lemon-tea. Other ingredients used include peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and dried fruit such as orange, ginger and raisins.

Concrete brick walls, and vintage antique shop finds such as steel gates which once guarded the former Bank of France lend the space an industrial feel, in tandem with the boutique’s bean-to-bar concept.

Meanwhile, Ducasse opens his chocolate boutique a few months after luxury tea house Ladurée threw open the doors to their first shop dedicated to chocolate.

 Nicholas Berger

Godiva gold box

Sweet Gourmet treats for Valentine’s Day 2013

dalloyau Heart shaped cakes

Master chocolatiers and top luxury pastry boutiques have come out with another wide assortment of sweet treats for this year’s edition of Valentine’s Day.

Pierre Herme pate de fruit

Pierre Hermé

A litchi and rose pâte de fruit, or fruit jelly, covered in a raspberry ganache.

dalloyau Heart shaped cakes

Dalloyau

Heart-shaped versions of Dalloyau’s signature offerings include the Macaron of Love, a raspberry-flavored cookie filled with a Madagascan vanilla cream and raspberry compote; a shortbread pastry filled with a Sabayon mousse and berries, and a choux-pastry filled with vanilla and raspberries.

Pierre Herme Ella Heart

Pierre Hermé

Made with a base of olive oil and lemon biscuits, the Ella Heart is an ode to red berries and is filled with a light lemon mousse.

La Maison du Chocolat bonbons

La Maison du Chocolat

Want to spice up your regular repertoire? French chocolate boutique La Maison du Chocolat has come out with special edition bonbons with interesting flavor pairings, such as a vanilla and Jamaican pepper-spiced praline filled with almonds and hazelnuts, and Galanga and lemon chocolates.

Herme Tarte Coeur Infiniment Jasmin

Pierre Hermé

Hermé’s Tarte Cœur Infiniment Jasmin, or Infinitely Jasmine Heart, is made with shortbread, jasmine–infused ganache, jasmine tea biscuit and Marscapone cream.

Godiva gold box

Godiva

Godiva’s signature gold box is an assortment of 36 milk, dark and white chocolate bonbons, pralines and ganaches.

Jean-Paul Hevin Chinese New Year bonbons

Jean-Paul Hévin launches Chinese New Year bonbons

Jean-Paul Hevin Chinese New Year bonbons

Jean-Paul Hévin has released a special range of bonbons for Chinese New Year that includes a Sichuan chili-peppered dark chocolate ganache as well as a new mandarin-flavored chocolate macaron.

Handcrafted in Paris before being flown to his Hong Kong boutiques, the limited edition chocolates have been created to help usher in the year of the snake.

The Boite Gourmande is a red faux snake-skin box wrapped in a gold ribbon that comes with 28 bonbons including the Sichuan chili chocolate, all adorned with the Chinese symbol for the word ‘lucky.’

Under the mentorship of chef Joël Robuchon in Paris, Jean-Paul Hévin received one of the top honors in France for artisan craftsmanship, the title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France.” Since opening his own chocolate boutique in Paris, he’s since exported the brand to Japan, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

The special Chinese New Year coffrets like the Boite Gourmande, which costs $560 HKD (€53), are available at the trio of Jean-Paul Hévin boutiques in Hong Kong.

faberge chocolate egg

World’s most expensive non-jeweled chocolate egg

faberge chocolate egg

A hand-crafted Faberge chocolate egg will vie to become the world’s most expensive non-jewelled chocolate egg sold at auction next month.

Britain’s best chocolatier Willam Curley is creating the giant egg using materials such as expensive Tuscan Amedei dark chocolate and Japanese Wasabi chocolate.

The auctioneers hope to break the current Guinness World Record price for a non-jewelled chocolate egg of £1,000.
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