By Lisa Maliga
Chocolate truffles, bonbons, hand painted chocolate, 24-karat gold drizzled upon chocolate…such decadent luxuries. Chocolate connoisseurs seek richness of flavor upon the palate, and for those in the know, it will be couverture chocolate, which has the best finely ground cocoa beans and a higher cocoa butter content. Discover tantalizing offerings from some international chocolatiers.
Knipschildt is based in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Danish founder, Fritz Knipschildt, began his career as a chef and trained in Spain and France. He came to America in 1996 and while working as a private chef his clients were amazed with his unique chocolate creations. Now he has invented a very unusual and costly truffle. La Madeline au Truffe is enrobed in the intense and fruity 70% Valrhona cacao from South America and is the perfect way to offset the exotic and intoxicating aroma of an authentic French Perigord black truffle embedded inside this wondrous chocolate truffle. They sell for $250.00 and have a shelf life of one week.
If you want to celebrate a special occasion, consider buying a box of chocolate truffles sprinkled with edible silver or 24-karat edible gold. DeLafee is located in Switzerland and uses a blend of Criollo cocoa beans from Ecuador and Venezuela and Forestero cocoa beans from Ghana. The creamy chocolate ganache inside the pralines makes this a silky smooth flavor along with the glittering golden topping. The Gold Chocolate Box with Antic Swiss Collectible Gold Coin has eight chocolate truffles adorned with gold. The price is 255 Euros. They also sell edible silver in their dark Swiss chocolate truffles. Eight elegantly boxed truffles only cost 65 Euros.
Godiva is a famous name in the world of chocolate. Founded in Brussels, Belgium, it is noted on their web site: “Joseph Draps, a renowned Belgian chocolatier, created a line of chocolates with extraordinary richness and design, a collection of passion and purity. He sought a name that embodied the timeless qualities of passion, style, sensuality, and modern boldness.” You can find the chocolate in their own stores as well as in many retail locations worldwide.
Located in Lyon, France, Richart Chocolates uses 70% Criollo cocoa from Venezuela – a more exotic and expensive base for all the fine ingredients that are mingled with the gourmet chocolate. They also carry macarons. However, if you seek a memorable gift for yourself or someone you wish to impress, consider the $850.00 Petits Richart in a hand-crafted burlwood vault complete with temperature and humidity gauges. Seven drawers contain 112 pieces of exotic gourmet chocolate ranging from citrus flavored to romantic florals to roasted, herbal, and spicy palate pleasers.
Debauve & Gallais is a traditional chocolatier headquartered in Paris, France – a location they have occupied for over 200 years. [You can also find some of their chocolates and teas at Barneys New York.] These chocolates are hand molded and can be shaped like the company’s coat of arms or a fleur de lys. Naturally low in sugar, the fillings contain ingredients from around the world, such as: Turkish raisins, Spanish almonds, chestnuts from Turin and rum from Antilles. Seeking a gift that will please a chocolate aficionado? Try the $650.00 Le Royale chocolate bonbon assortment in their official trademark blue, gray, and gold embossed box. This luscious collection boasts 176 pieces of remarkable chocolate. [Original photo: http://www.debauveandgallais.com/main/bonbons2.asp]
Another memorable gift is the 100-piece blue box of chocolate from MarieBelle in New York. As stated on their website: “The Cien Blue is styled as a hat box that will provide the perfect hiding place for your cherished belongings after the chocolates have been devoured. MarieBelle New York combines the finest single-origin chocolate with eclectic ingredients and artisanal techniques, to create edible works of art.” You receive 34 different flavors including whisky, ginger, cilantro, banana, saffron, lavender and so much more. Priced at $260.00
For the ultimate chocolate aficionado who wants to indulge in the most unforgettable dessert ever, it can be found exclusively at the New York City restaurant, Serendipity 3. Entitled Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, it boasts a blend of 14 of the rarest cocoas from Africa and South America and edible 24-karat gold. The goblet is lined with edible gold and around the base is an 18-karat gold bracelet complimented with a carat’s worth of diamonds. A La Madeleine au Truffe from Knipschildt Chocolatier is included in the package, as is a diamond studded golden spoon – another keepsake of this extravagant dessert. The price is $25,000.00.
As Charles Schulz, the creator of the famous Peanuts cartoon, once said, “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”