Ooh, my favorite!


François Pralus Barre Infernale Lait
May 31, 2012, 10:25 am
Filed under: Chocolate, The Finer Things

François Pralus Barre Infernale

Like coffee, chocolate is a luxury item that’s become so easily accessible that it’s easy to forget that for about $20 we have access to the best the world has to offer. Seriously, this is mind blowing! In a time where faster, cheaper goods reign supreme we have the ability to reallocate a few dollars here and there to appreciate the finer things and indulge in excellence…like, for example, this epic bar of chocolate.

I use the term chocolate bar only in the most literal sense: it is in the shape of a bar, and it is made of chocolate. In terms of the conventional sense, trust me when I say that there is nothing conventional about this chocolate.

This is the François Pralus Barre Infernale Lait. I’ve been struggling to find the best way to characterize this, but it’s been really tough. In the classic sense (and according to François Pralus) it’s a praline, but I think it might help most people stateside to think of this as a bon bon of sorts, with a truffle-ish center. (Did you catch that?)

The progression of textures and tastes is euphoric. The outer chocolate shell boldly encases and yet blends into the most sumptuous, buttery, and decadent chocolate hazelnut center. In short it’s the perfect fat: as it hits your palate it’s one cohesive bite, but almost immediately it coats your tongue and oozes sexy hazelnut chocolate. The addition of the toasted whole hazelnuts is the perfect bit of tannic crunch.

This is NOT excessive-cocoa-butter-waxy-bland, just pure decadence. I’m not saying this is an exact comparison, but when talking about this with my guy the word foie gras did come up. So yeah…there’s that.

I purchased this from Cacao in Portland for $22. It’s worth every cent not just because of its artisan craftsmanship and quality (and size), but also because it’s so decadent it’s meant to be savored. You’ll just want to slice a few pieces off at a time and store it away from anything too warm or cold. If you’re looking for this in Seattle, check out Chocolopolis in Queen Anne, they also have it online for $19.

UPDATE [December, 12]: This guy is getting hard to find. Try here.

In case you’re curious here’s a cheeky little how-to:

If this wasn’t enough to convince you I’m not sure what else there is! All I can do is beg you to skip the chocolate from Trader Joe’s and indulge in something better every now and then. Trust me, the endorphins you’ll get from this are priceless!



Lick, Lick
March 19, 2012, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Chocolate, My favorite things, Sweets

Askinosie’s Malted Milky Dark Chocolate

It seems extra gloomy today, and even with the spring blossoms peeking out it’s one of those graze-on-an-entire-bar-of-chocolate kind of days. It’s actually perfect timing because we came across this awesome bar of Askinosie chocolate yesterday. My friends, this bar (a collaboration with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams) is uh-may-zing! The dark chocolate with malted milk makes this the perfect bar for milk chocolate lovers looking to enjoy dark chocolate without so much of the strong, chalky taste. The texture is also complete perfection, first the chocolate taste with just enough cocoa butter to make it creamy-not waxy.

For me, making enjoying the chocolate that much better is how they work. All of the chocolate is made in small batches using single-origin cacao beans (sourcing directly from the farmers), each of the cacao farmers has a stake in the profits, and interestingly enough, the cocoa butter is made in-house. Who’d have thought that’d an artisan chocolate maker actually making their own cocoa butter was a big deal…but it is! Askinosie is the first small batch chocolate maker in the U.S. to press their own cocoa butter.

Gorgeous chocolate and direct trade with farmer’s makes for a lovely (and meaningful) indulgence. Please, please, please give this a try so we can talk about how awesome this chocolate is!




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