Saturday, April 18, 2009

a little taste of the good life...

Remember how Godiva used to be? With chocolate that was actually made in Switzerland that tasted amazing and had no equal? Well, now Godiva is crap, just another mass-produced chocolate manufacturer on par with Lindt, a mere glorified Hershey-like product. But
Leonidas of Belgium (as well as some others like Vosges out of France) are picking up the slack. The chocolates are amazing, they have a great variety of pieces for every kind of chocolate lover, at a price of course. 

These Belgian chocolates (over 80 varieties) are flown in weekly from a number of producers, including Belgium and they have stores all over the world. Matter of fact, I have never been to any of the store locations out here in New York City, the United States or Europe, even though I had my eye on the store for a while. My first encounter was a week ago in the Akasaka neighborhood of Japan Tokyo when I ran into a retail locale down the street from my hotel. Chocolate is chocolate no matter what language the descriptions are written in (the signs luckily happened to be in French) and after running in right before closing, picking up an assortment of pralines, marzipan, and some stuff that I had no clue of. With so many to choose from it was difficult making a selection but some of the best are:
  1. The Manon Café (dark chocolate variety) - a dark chocolate praline with coffee butter cream and a whole hazelnut.
  2. Les Coupes de Leonidas (Cups of Leonidas) A superb assortment of chocolate “cups” filled with delicious and surprising ganache and toppings, including: lait de coco (milk of coconut), lait d' amande, (almond milk), praline croquant, tiramisu, and truffe maracuja (passion fruit truffle).
  3. The Gianduja Emballee - wrapped in gold foil, this milk chocolate covered praline of hazelnut and almond literally melts on your tongue. 

My only knock about their product line is that they did not have any kind of SOLID chocolate at all. However, they offer a variety of gift options in beautiful little, aesthetically pleasing boxes. Probably the prettiest boxes I've seen for chocolates yet and while the prices are fairly high (as I mentioned before) so is the quality. I assume the plane ticket for the chocolate is as high in JP¥ as it is in USD$ or EU€. Which gives me an idea for a little summer affair: a liquor/wine and chocolate party. A little piece of Belgium perfection to share with some friends out here in New York City. 

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt"

~Charles M. Schulz

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