La Maison du Chocolat
In the city there are plenty of places to pay top dollar for chocolate but I refuse to drop the big bucks for anything other than La Maison du Chocolat. They have two stores in Manhattan and more in France, London, and Tokyo. When I went to Paris a few years ago, I didn’t go looking for them; instead I was totally infatuated with Fauchon, which had wonderful pastries but their chocolate wasn’t quite up to par.
The first time I had tasted their chocolates I was in college. My wise and most tasteful friend Tamaki bought and shared a Coffret Maison box and some cake from La Maison (I say cake but it was mostly ganache) with me and some classmates. At first my taste buds were out of tune from copious amounts of the much sweeter Lindt truffles earlier that day (it was college, chocolate was often a meal replacement). I was in a bit of a taste shock, unable to take in the flavors at first, but the texture was undeniable. It was the smoothest airy creamy chocolate I’ve ever had, and I was soon an addict for life before the day was over. The chocolate flavors were so rich but not bitter and did not have the cloying sweetness that I was accustomed to. I couldn’t go back to the way things were, every chocolate confection I taste would be compared to them.
My personal favorites are their macarons, fruit infused ganaches like the Salvador (raspberry) and Valencia (orange), and their truffles are the gold standard for me. After one Christmas when I treated myself to a large coffret and gaining 8lbs, I learned to enjoy in moderation more (and only a few times a year). So I stay away from boxes, except for the boxes of mini macarons (which are a bargain compared to the chocolates). The shells are perfectly delicate, crisp and chewy, and are filled with their amazing ganache. Flavors include dark chocolate, milk chocolate, raspberry, vanilla, caramel and coffee; a flavor I normally dislike but they made it great.
I don’t klnow what it’s called. It’s a 2 inch wide ball, with a hazelnut filling, rolled in hazelnuts and praline and coated in dark (milk?) chocolate.