And now some heavy hitters:
1. Maison du Chocolat: I loved the experience of visiting this shop. The salesclerk was really sweet and each time we bought a chocolate she gave us the same one to sample on the spot. For the six we bought, we got four for free. You could tell that she was proud to work at La Maison and that she was passionate about the chocolate she sold.
2. Patrick Roger: I could tell that this place was special as soon as I walked in. Perhaps it was the care with which the chocolate was presented or the dedication of the salesclerk. Maybe it was the chocolate itself calling me from inside its gorgeous packaging. In any case, I bought a lot of chocolate here without sampling any first, which was a rule that Angie and I established after being disappointed several times. Somehow I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
On the airplane ride home, Angie and I did a taste test of the two chocolatiers. Here are our impressions:
Taste: Robert Linxe, the founder of La Maison du Chocolat says that ” A successful ganache subtly unveils the flavor of the cacao” and his chocolate did just that! We tried first the dark chocolate ganache, which the salesclerk had recommended. It was perfectly smooth, perfectly fresh and absolutely transcendent in its simplicity. It was so very, very good. What they say about La Maison du Chocolat is true: It is the holy grail of chocolate.
Patrick Roger is quite different in his approach. Whereas la Maison du Chocolat is classical, and subtle, P.R. is bold and adventurous. First we tried the lime and basil ganache. The little square literally erupted in my mouth with tangy flavor. Outrageous and outrageously good. We also tried a chocolate dipped marzipan, which had a great, chewy texture to it. The delicate flavor of orange blossom stayed in my mouth for at least 15 minutes afterwards. Patrick Roger really opened my eyes to what you can do with flavours in chocolate. He manages to concentrate flavours of fruit or nut or spices in order to heighten your taste experience. Brilliant.
I can’t really chose which one I liked better of the two. I guess I would chose La Maison for the classic ganaches and if I am looking for a real burst of flavor, I would chose Patrick Roger.