jasonlockwood

Great Coffee and Fine Food Worldwide

91 posts in this topic

Lindt is ok, although I still find the cocoa butter/fat content to be so high as to mask the taste of chocolate - it feels like a chocolate-tasting sweet, rather than a bar of chocolate.

Well, "you people" are supposed to love that texture. And almost all their chocolates that are over ~60% don't - almost can't - have that texture.

I dislike Valrohna intensely. I think they are very good at marketing; however, their chocolate is very strongly roasted (far too much, I would argue), and as you mention not always as fresh, leaving one with an unpleasant taste in the back of the palate and the nose.

There's an intense fruitiness to their product but that's by choice. It's a function of the beans they pick and their unwillingness to blend past the level necessary to assure consistency. For that kind of "pure" experience, Valrhona is better than anyone else with a strong international presence.

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I like dark chocolates. For me, the best French supermarket dark chocolate is the Cote d'Or 86% cocoa.

For super-premium stuff, Patrick Roger is the best I've had in Paris.

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Thanks for the heads-up re Patrick Roger, will try it next trip!

Not to be missed, along with Pierre Herme for pastries (macaroons being his specialty).

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I have a new favorite chocolate in the non-super premium category. They are the Vivani Feine Bitter 71% cocoa bars. In France, they're found in a small chain of bio store. It's unfortunate they are not found in larger, more traditionnal retailers, but in any case they are of a superb quality for a retail bar.

http://www.vivani.de/P_Tafeln_Feine_Bitter_e.html

Vivani can be found in the US, but the range is a bit different. I don't know if the chocolate above is the same as this one below that can be found in the US:

http://www.vivani.de/P_USA_Art_DarkChocolate.html

Give me a head's up if you're in Paris.

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I have a new favorite chocolate in the non-super premium category. They are the Vivani Feine Bitter 71% cocoa bars. In France, they're found in a small chain of bio store. It's unfortunate they are not found in larger, more traditionnal retailers, but in any case they are of a superb quality for a retail bar.

http://www.vivani.de/P_Tafeln_Feine_Bitter_e.html

Vivani can be found in the US, but the range is a bit different. I don't know if the chocolate above is the same as this one below that can be found in the US:

http://www.vivani.de/P_USA_Art_DarkChocolate.html

Give me a head's up if you're in Paris.

I have never had these bars, but because of my love of chocolate I am willing to give them a try when I find them.

I do not know if anything is added to these bars before they can come into the US, but I know that such things use to be done. When I lived just outside Niagara Fall, New York in the late 1980s I would travel across the border into Canada to buy their Molson Golden as it tasted better than what was sold in American grocery stores. I forget exactly how or why I questioned this taste difference, but remeber being told by a Molson Golden representative that the US government made them add items to the beer before it could cross the border.

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My favourite bar is now the 1er cru line from Michel Cluizel, easily available in the US (at least in NYC).

I just tried Michel Cluizel's Grand Lait 45%.

Wonderful!

The carmel notes peak past what one would expect, yet they don't overwhelm. Good chocolate notes. Not the smoothest texture at first, but it takes off shortly (he describes it as "very crunchy [...] "that melts in the mouth [...]" .) One of the best I've ever tasted. I wouldn't cook with it -- it's too good.

$6 for 2.46oz at Zabar's.

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I just tried Cluizel's Managaro, from his 1 Cru de Plantation line.

This is like a single malt whiskey, in the sense that nothing could be purer, nothing could make a stronger argument for blending.

For true chocolate fans that like a lot of fruit without those tones overpowering the entire experience, this one's tough to beat.

Same price as above, ~$6/2.46oz. No way I'd cook with this stuff unless I was cooking for a menu that ran ~$100/person.

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I've not found the Vivani bars in the US. What I have found is this very good dark chocolate:

http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_dark_chocolate.htm

I recommend the 71% cocoa. I'm going to order some of the 80%.

(That site is a good source for coconut products by the way. I recommend their coconut cream concentrate!)

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Buongiorno America! After living in Italy, I have to say how much I miss American coffee! Although there are plenty of good coffee bars here, and espresso is wonderful... I MISS being able to determine the quality of the coffee bean, grinding them myself however thin or thick I would like, and using my American style coffee maker (I had one here and running finely ground espresso through hot water did not quite cut it).

As for food... Italian cuisine is very good! I have developed a taste for gnocchi in place of macaroni and cheese. Pizza is very different compared to American style pizza, and surely one of the first things I will do when visiting America is order Pizza Hut pizza! :)

We need to import Skittles, jelly beans, and sunflower seeds (right now I can only find them in pet supply stores). On the other hand, the best chocolate in the world is made in Italy in my opinion.

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Try Kopi Luwak. It is the greatest coffee every brewed. Once you try it, get to the bottom of what makes it great.

Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak

You are now the Upton Sinclair of the coffee industry. You could write a book The Coffee Jungle: Grounds for Protest.

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On the other hand, the best chocolate in the world is made in Italy in my opinion.

Please share the names of the brands you're enjoying and any specific info you may have on what makes them what they are.

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Just tried Cluizel's 1 Cru Plantation Maralumi (65%). This is an excellent dry chocolate, with the fruit-like acidity coming up somewhere between the middle and end. Like the Managaro I mentioned above, this is a great chocolate. I love how he can flirt with percentages this high and avoid overt bitterness, while so many other flavors come through so well. (I assume that's a function of the quality of the plantation beans he uses, either because of their superior flavor or the ease with which uniform beans can be processed.)

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Just tried Cluizel's Grand Lait 45%.

I was expecting something like the Extra Rich Milk Chocolate by Schaffen Burger, that is, a dark chocolate lover's milk chocolate. Cluizel's, though, is all about a buttery texture, a dairy flavor and a caramel note that takes a long time to come out, at which point you realize you're eating chocolate. (Lindt's Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate is far better at this sort of thing.)

For NY Metro folk: Cluizel's bars are now featured at Fairways. They run about $6.49 a bar. Since I like drier blends I'll stick with SB product, which costs about 33% less. (Cluizel is too expensive to cook with even in commercial packaging.)

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