- Antoine Amrani – Coffee Sour Cherry Truffle
- Chuao Chocolatier – Firecracker
- Fran’s Chocolates – Gray & Smoked Salt Caramels
- Bissinger’s – Chocolate-Covered Wine Grapes
- Metromint – Chocolatemint Water
I was smitten by Antoine Amrani’s boho-chic packaging and sophisticated flavors. In particular, his Coffee Sour Cherry Truffle is just stunning. Lacquered deep red and dotted like a ladybug, it has a thin, delicate shell of chocolate on the outside, and a silky coffee ganache on the inside. At the center of this jewel of a truffle is a Grand Marnier-soaked sour cherry. The flavor combo here is wonderfully different.
Another great new discovery at the show this year was Chuao Chocolatier. Pronounced “Chew-WOW”, the name of one of the most famous cacao plantations in Venezuela, Chuao is all about creating an evocative, culinary chocolate experience.
Antonorsi’s Firecracker stole the show. A dark chocolate bar featuring chipotle, sea salt, and popping candy, it is a true multi-sensory experience. Take a bite and immediately, the pop-rocks start crackling away – you can actually hear them! Then the chipotle kicks in, pleasantly warm, and before long, your mouth is like one happy, chocolaty, party sparkler. Snap. Crackle. Pop.
Fran’s Salted Caramels were featured in my Fancy Food Show Chocolate Edition write-up last year too…but you know, you just can’t ignore perfection. These luxurious, velvety, buttery caramels are some of the best confections to touch these lips.
The Smoked Salt Caramels are my ultimate favorite. Dipped in 40% deep milk chocolate and bejeweled with a sprinkling of pure sea salt that has been smoked over Welsh oak. The result is a soft, complex, golden flavor, finished with a satisfying crunch of salt crystals.
Bissinger’s had a strong showing again this year as well! I love Chief Chocolatier Terry Wakefield. He’s like the quintessential Grandpa who maybe had a secret double-life as Willy Wonka, and would pull a chocolate treat from behind your ear every time you saw him.
This year, he delighted us with his latest creation, Australian Muscat grapes that have been partially dried, then rehydrated with Shiraz wine and dipped in Bissinger’s 60% dark chocolate.
Wine and chocolate. Yes, please.
And yes, the winner of our Guilt-Free Chocolate Award, Metromint’s Chocolatemint Water. Comprised of pure water, real mint, and cocoa essence, Chocolatemint tastes exactly like a Thin Mint.
It’s zero calories, and surprisingly, it actually did satisfy my chocolate craving…and quench my thirst at the same time. I mean, don’t get me wrong. When I really want chocolate, I need to go for the real thing, but you know, this could come in handy these days as I strive for sveltdom.
Metromint really is super refreshing. The mint is grown in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. It then goes through a double-distillation process that steams the leaves until they obtain “the true essence of the mint.” Not sure what exactly that means, but it is tasty. So fresh and so clean clean.
(All videography by Christina Robles)