Chocolate Not For the Faint of Heart

One of the perks of my job is that I often get to try new products and food items before they’re generally available. Last week, I was at a local restaurant called Cava for a chocolate and spirits pairing featuring the chocolates from Michel Cluizel, a French chocolatier that I particularly enjoy. The owner of Cava also runs a chocolate shop called Xococava, located next door to the restaurant, and when we left, all in attendance received a selection of chocolates from the shop, as well as this half dozen special edition collection made with some of the single origin chocolates from Michel Cluizel.

Xococava specializes in pushing the boundaries of the typical ganache filling and offers chocolates filled with chorizo sausage, black olive, black trumpet mushroom and sumac, to name but a few of their 25 regular offerings. The selection shown above was created specifically for the tasting event I attended, but chef Christopher McDonald and chocolatier Laura White mentioned that it might also be available for the holidays.

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The Premium Chocolate Experience


My first encounter with Michel Cluizel chocolates took place a few years back when I happened across the entire line of estate plantation bars in a shop in St. Lawrence Market. I ended up buying the whole line, setting me back about $50, and the experience completely changed how I think about chocolate.

Like coffee and wine, chocolate from different regions offers distinctive flavours and characteristics that denote the specific terroir in which the cacao is grown, making each chocolate unique.

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a chocolate tasting event at Cava where the various chocolates from Michel Cluizel were paired with spirits.

The tasting was led by Yves Farges, CEO of Qualifirst Foods Ltd, a family-owned company that has been importing specialty foods since 1957. The line of Michel Cluizel chocolates is their most well-known product, but with a philosophy of offering the best quality products as the guiding concept of the company, Qualifirst offers everything from truffles and foie gras to tea, coffee, preserves and vinegars, and the evening began with a selection of canapés prepared by Chef Chris McDonald of Cava, and featuring products from the Qualifirst selection that ranged from smoked sea salt to a vegan caviar.

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The Land of Chocolate

Today I will write the post about the GD chocolate book!!!

In fact, there’s no need for cursing. The chocolate book, aka. Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum was a magnificent read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Which is why I felt it was so important to review it here, and why it’s remained on my desk for the past 3 months as I never seem to have the time to get around to writing a post about it. The downside to this is that I’ve forgotten much of the content of the book, with my single complaint about the publication being that there is no index of places Rosenblum visited or people he talked to or companies he profiled for me to use as a reference, either to find specific passages or simply to jog my memory.

What’s important to note is that Rosenblum lives in Paris, so much of his research is centred on European chocolatiers in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, as well as much national posturing over who has the best stuff.

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