Sunday, December 23, 2007

Un chocolat

I overhear the nice guy behind the bar: “It’s like drinking melted chocolate.” Say no more; I’m in for a single shot of hot cocoa.

I’m at Michel Cluizel, world-renowned Parisian chocolatier who opened in ABC Carpet two years ago. It’s a relief to have place for top-notch chocolates that’s not Soho or midtown (and dangerously close to my apartment). Especially on a grey December afternoon when you have the day off from work and want to sit and zen out a bit.

The cocoa comes in a dainty little espresso cup. It hardly looks like enough, but it’s made with heavy cream and a blend of five different dark cocoa beans from different plantations, so drinking any more would be obscene. It’s creamy, smooth and refined; sharp, not sugary. Oui, c’est tres bon.

Michel Cluizel is better known for his bonbons than his cocoa though, so I must also indulge in a few of those. I choose a dark chocolate with a crème brulée butter ganache center, a salted butter caramel, and a milk chocolate filled with almond and hazelnut praline (always a sucker for pralines).

It’s a nice treat. But I’ll have to visit the rue Saint-Honoré boutique next week to see if, as I suspect, everything tastes better in Paris.

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