La Maison du Chocolat Review and Giveaway!

There are very few reasons that you would not like this post:
1)You don’t like chocolate.
2)You don’t like giveaways.
3)You don’t read English.
As long as none of those statements apply to you, read on and prepare to drool.
When La Maison Du Chocolat invited me for a press tasting, of course I went…who wouldn’t want to go eat chocolate all afternoon? La Maison Du Chocolat was founded in the 1970′s and its owner is credited with inventing the ganache found in macarons. It specializes in high end chocolates and macarons, all of which are made in Paris and shipped to the NYC locations several times a week.
Basically, these chocolates have more pedigree than I do.
Which explains why, when I entered the small, exquisitely appointed shop in Rockefeller center, I started to feel intimidated. By the candy. Who the hell is intimidated by candy?
The tasting started with the limited edition summer chocolates, called Chiberta. It is named after the Basque city, near the border of Spain, where La Maison du Chocolat’s founder was born.
Each summer there are different special edition chocolates with different themes. Get it while you can, because once these babies are gone, they won’t ever return.
They are all beautiful to look at, but, come on…I was here for the taste, and you all know it.
*All printing in bold from La Maison du Chocolat Website*
Eztia (Honey in Basque), milk chocolate ganache flavoured with two Basque honeys: the sweet 
wildflower honey, and the more robust and intense chestnut honey from the mountains.

The first bite of Maison du Chocolat let me know I was in for a treat. At first this was creamy, smooth and sweet – not unlike milk chocolate. But the texture on top was crisp and the ganache inside was somewhere between frosting and fudge, at once rich and delicate. As I let the chocolate dissolve on my tongue, the sugary, viscous taste and texture of honey shone through. As someone who is not generally a honey fan, I can say that this pairing was genius - the high quality chocolate used tempered the honey’s natural sweetness, and they honey gave an incredible texture to this truffle-like chocolate.
Txokolate Iluna (“Somber chocolate” in Basque), plain dark chocolate ganache, with a smoky, robust character.
This is for the person who likes wines red, cigars Cuban and chocolate dark. With a low sugar and butter content, this chocolate had an almost meaty flavor to it – incredibly complex with tastes of berries when I first bit into it, and an espresso-like bitterness as it dissolved on my tongue.
 Praline Macaron, dark chocolate praline, very silky, 100% almond with crunchy slivers of chocolate macarons.
No Almond Joy ever tasted this good, that I can tell you. This was the most candy-like of the confections I sampled, with smooth and sweet ganache sprinkled with shards of almond and crunchy, sweet macaron that resulted in a very “user friendly” treat. This was like a cross between a Nestle Crunch bar and an Almond Joy. And it was delightful.
Espeletako Piperra (Espelette pepper in Basque), dark chocolate ganache blended with the sweetness of the red pepper, accented with the Espelette pepper.
I was prepared not to like this. Don’t like chili and chocolate. I have tried it several times before, and it always tastes painful, savory or just plain…weird.
This TOTALLY changed my mind. The chocolate really worked with the chili here. They used a very mild chili, which had just enough heat to brighten up the rich, dark ganache and make it seem citrusy and lighter than usual. There was a touch of fruitiness to it that also worked well here. At first, the taste was solely of the dark chocolate, and then the fruitiness, then., just at the finish, the slight amount of heat came through. Not enough to make your eyes water, but barely enough to make you sit up and say “did I just eat chili and chocolate? And LIKE it?”
And, yes. You did. 
Almond Paste with Patxaran, almond paste enhanced with the fruity flavours of anise and 
blackthorn berry of the traditional Patxaran liqueur, enrobed in dark chocolate.
Here it is. The reason I came. Perhaps the reason I was BORN. Hearty, savory almonds ground into a sweet, marzipan-like paste that was amplified by the earthy and fragrant taste of the liqueur. This was basically the best marzipan I have ever tasted: Smooth, rich, not cloyingly sweet. The dark chocolate paired with it tempered the sweetness of the paste and made it a winner.
And yes…yes you did. 
By the time we got to the macarons, I was over feeling intimidated. I realized that these chocolates loved me like I loved them. 
I had an especially deep relationship with the passion fruit macaroon, whose tart acidity blended incredibly well with the sweet chocolate ganache.  The crisp, airy cookies gave way to a pleasantly sticky middle of the cookie and finally the sweet, velvety ganache. These are supposed to last for about 3 days if you gbuy some, but these didn’t last 3 minutes on the table. The taste was bright but rich at the same time.
You know..like I like my men.
And speaking of men…the Madison store hosts all sorts of chocolate tastings and events, which I think would be an amazing bridal party idea. You could do the pairing with tea, but you might as well go all out and do the chocolate and champagne pairing.
I mean, I’m not coming if there isn’t booze.
The Pistachio was no slouch either. The natural saltiness of the nut juxtaposed the ganache perfectly.

Maracuja cake*

 
 
A veritable toast to exotic flavours, the Maracuja cake has a coconut dacquoise biscuit with a banana, passion fruit, coconut and lime cremeux associated with the silkiness of chocolate mousse.
Yeah…what more can be said about this? It is a moist sponge cake, soaked through with the tartness of passion fruit, the creaminess of bananas, the acidity of lime and the richness of coconut. Then, it is layered with milky, creamy chocolate mouse, before it is laid on a crispy coconut meringue base and topped with a fudge-like layer of icing.
I mean…if that does not sound like a party to you then…well, I just don’t want to go to any of your parties.
Chocolate sorbet. But not like other chocolate sorbets you have had, where every bite just reminds you of the creamy treat you really wanted but didn’t get.
This is better than most chocolate ice creams I have had. Smooth, no iciness, with an airy texture that belies its deep, intense, chocolaty taste. I would get this in a heartbeat, and you can get it, in individual cups in any of their stores.
Oh, but you don’t live near a store?
Well, then, I guess I will…
just have to give you a chance to win a GIVEAWAY here!
The winner will get a box of beautiful La Maison du Chocolat Chocolates!
These chocolates probably cost more than your college education and will definitely make you twice as happy.
Just leave a comment below for a chance to win. I will randomly choose a winner next week from the commenters. 
And if you are in town…head over to this amazing store. It is expensive. It is in Midtown. It is even a bit…dare I say…intimidating?
But, you get what you pay for. And here, you get the best chocolates I have had in America.
I said it and I meant it.
In fact, I meant it so much…I might just have to sing about it…
Now, leave a comment to enter this giveaway!
*Note: My tasting was paid for by the store.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, impartial.*

Comments

  1. Rehana says:

    I <3 chocolate!!

  2. sophia says:

    I am crossing my fingers and toes and legs and arms that I win this!!! I totally need a pick-me-up since I've been down on my luck lately…

  3. Kim says:

    Ooh yes, chocolate!!!

    PS – are you going to BlogHer?

  4. Lala37 says:

    I love chocolate. My AIM screen-name from 5th grade is Chocolategirl. My brother used to tell me people were going to think I was black…

  5. Ada says:

    Ahh you're so lucky you got to attend a press tasting at La Maison! That is probably one of my favorite places in NYC, I used to go there on special occasions as a child.

  6. ldyginger says:

    I love chocolate, it runs through mu veins and I need MOOOORRREEE!!!!!!!! PICK ME!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!

  7. Jenn says:

    I've been stalking this company's website since Feisty Foodie told me about this event. Fancy schmancy chocolates are few and far between in Louisiana and macarons…nonexistent. What a great giveaway.

  8. Feisty Foodie says:

    I was going to whine because "I went to that tasting! Why didn't I meet you?" but then I realized you went to Rock Center, and I went to UES. Anyway, question: are you shipping these yourself? How are you going to prevent them from melting? Just wondering…

  9. Fattypangs says:

    since I went to state school, these may cost more than my graduation…haha "grabs" too bad i have no reach and you're in NY lol

  10. Tracy R says:

    I love good chocolate, and boy do these look great! Thank you so much for the chance!
    cardprincess(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
    Have a great day!

  11. Celia says:

    Oooh, I saw that invite, but am currently in Boston – glad you had an awesome time! Hope you're doing well; Lillian and I have been plotting a picnic later this summer. Will keep you posted!

  12. 8383WB says:

    Who knew that following a link to your blog would lead to a drawing for CHOCOLATE!!! Thanks for the chance to win this treat–and I will SHARE!

  13. Wendy V. says:

    OOOOH! Chocolate…what girl doesn't like chocolate?

  14. John Kim says:

    Amazing review of these amazing chocolates!

  15. Dee says:

    Am I still in time? Love this shop and the chocolates. Nice overview…

  16. Hungry says:

    This is my go-to special occasion chocolate shop. I savor each and every piece. So good!

  17. Tasty Trekker says:

    This place is seriously amazing. I stop by every time in the Rockefeller area for at least 2-3 bites. What a great tasting to go to!!!

  18. Anne Donohoe says:

    I was JUST talking to someone about Maison du Chocolat! The macarons are to DIE for! Great review! Mouth is watering!

  19. Anonymous says:

    There's an LMDC in Short Hills, NJ too now! It's great.

  20. Abby Boynton says:

    Macarooooooons!

  21. sara says:

    i love la maison du chocolat, you should review it again. especially go to the upper east side one

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