Chef Michael Antonorisi Collaborates with Godiva

Godiva, well known for its truffles and luxurious chocolates, has decided to mix up the classic treats for which they are so well known. By joining with Venezuelan chocolatier Michael Antonorsi of San Diego area’s Chuao Chocolatier, the company has left plain dark chocolate behind and switched it for flavors like breadcrumbs, wine, and even pop rocks.

The press event, held in the Madison Avenue flagship, featured all of Antonorsi’s limited edition chocolates for Godiva, none which tasted anything like chocolates Godiva has previously offered. These are all about mixing salty, bitter, and spicy with traditional chocolate notes.

Salted Chocolate Crunch – Toasted panko bread crumbs and olive oil ganache with a touch of sea salt in decadent dark chocolate

By far my favorite chocolate of the night. Crisp chocolate surrounding smooth, dark, sweet ganache that finished with a bit of crunch and salt. The ideal mixture of creamy, crunchy, sweet, and salty.  It is like a grown up Nestle Crunch bar, made with higher quality ingredients more subtle shades of flavor.

Nut & Honeylicious – Sweet honey almond hazelnut praline and luscious milk chocolate  and Salted Caramel Spice – Rosemary-infused salt butter caramel in creamy milk chocolate.

While the Nut & Honeylicious chocolate was tasty enough – sweet with notes of honey, and hearty with the toasted praline – the Salted Caramel Spice was just outstanding. Mixed with the creamy milk chocolate was a strong taste of rosemary, heady and piney next to the sugar in the liquidy caramel. If you don’t like rosemary this isn’t for you, but if you do like it, it’s positively eye opening. Rosemary breaks through the sometimes cloying sweetness of milk chocolate, bringing out its savory and grounded notes.

Firecracker Fudge -  Caramel chipotle fudge and a touch of salt exploding with layers of popping candy and dark chocolate

This is interesting. The first taste is pure, pleasantly deep dark chocolate. Them, all at once, it feels like you have swallowed (true to its name) a tiny firecracker.  Crackling and popping all over the inside of your mouth, till you can feel it echoing in your ears. Here is where the heat comes through, the smoky, gentle fire of the chipotle. This is very complex, and – I must admit – not to my liking. I have to admire the ambition of it, though, and could see how others might enjoy it.

The recent collection with Chef Antonorisi is interesting in the best way possible. It is unexpected, it is exciting, and it is delicious. These chocolates are limited edition, so head to Godiva whilst they are still there and treat yourself to some of these unique chocolates!

Of course…a regular old truffle isn’t too bad either!

*I attended a press sponsored event. I was not paid or required to to write about the product, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, unbiased.*

Green and Black’s Chocolate Giveaway

It’s good to have friends in high places. That’s why I keep Feisty Foodie close…well, also because she appreciates a good “that’s what she said” joke as much as I do.
Really, we are quite obnoxious to be around. 
 Anyway, when she invited me to a Green and Black’s event, I was beyond psyched. I have had Green and Black’s organic chocolate before, and I commend the company’s dedication to fair prices to the farmers who grow the beans. 
 Also, the chocolate is outstanding. The White Chocolate is amazingly thick and complex – not sickeningly sweet like so many white chocolates are. The Mayan Gold is gently spicy with cinnamon, and the Salted Peanut Milk Chocolate is a Snickers bar gone deluxe. 
 What I didn’t know is that you can use Greens and Blacks to cook. Wouldn’t that be like using caviar in a tuna fish sandwich?
Actually, no. As delicious as the chocolate is for eating plain, it is formulated for baking as well. The flavors enhance and intensifiy in cookies, cakes, and such. The Cherry Chocolate bar would be so great in a bread pudding. 
 When we sat down to try our hands at making tiramisu, we got to see how well the chocolate works with other ingredients. The Mayan Gold was just outstanding with the creamy mascarpone, bitter espresso, and tangy madeira. 
Too bad you couldn’t try the tiramisu. It was really great. 
Of course…you CAN try Green and Black’s!
The company has graciously donated a sampler box of delicious chocolates. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment in the comments section. The winner will be announced Monday, January 23!
In the meantime, here is my musical tribute to some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted…

Cornflake-Chocolate-Mallow Cookies via Momofuku Milk Bar

Hanukkah came early for me this year, in the form of the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook. Not only does the cookbook contain the recipes for my all time favorite balls, but it has a myriad of other cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. The cookbook has mouthwatering photos, endearing personal anecdotes, and enough butter and fat to make your pants split straight down the middle. The recipes are extremely thorough and complex – this is not for the 30 minute cook or the nervous novice. This is for someone who has the time and inclination to bake inventive, wildly delicious sweets. These cookies were the first recipe I tried from the book. I simplified the recipe, and modified it to make it a touch easier for those of us who are not Christina Tosi.
Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies (Adapted from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook)

Ingredients:
2 Sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 Cups white sugar
2/3 Cup brown sugar
1 Egg
1 Tsp. vanilla extract or paste
1 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 Tsp. baking powder
1/4 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. kosher salt
3 Cups cornflakes
2/3 Cups mini chocolate chips
1 1/4 Cups mini marshmallows

 1) Preheat the oven to 350 F and cream the butter, and both sugars together for 3 minutes,

 or until the mixture looks like this.

 2) Add the eggs…

 and vanilla…

and continue mixing the dough for 8 minutes. Tosi emphasizes the importance of creaming the butter for an extra long time, saying it can truly be tasted in the end result. Though she says that a paddle attachment is necessary, I used the normal egg beater attachment and was pleased with the results.

 3) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt…

 and mix together with a spatula just until the dough comes together and absorbs the flour. Don’t overmix it, or the cookies will be tough.

4) Add the cornflakes…

 chocolate chips…

 and mini marshmallows.

 5) Mix by hand until it is all incorporated.

 Try not to eat too much of it raw, but damn…it’s so great.

 6) Toss the mixture onto some clingwrap, roll it into a sausage, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

 7) When you are ready to cook the cookies, take them out of the fridge, place about 3/4 slices of COLD dough onto a silpat or greased cookie sheet, and put them in a 350 F oven. Also, place the cookies at leas 4 inches apart – they spread a LOT while cooking.

Trust me on this (Batch 1).

 8) Though Tosi recommends cooking the dough for 18 minutes, I found 15 minutes were optimal for my oven – the edges were brown and crispy, and the centers were just BARELY underset, so they finished cooking outside the oven.

 These cookies were a hit with everyone who tried them. Buttery, crispy, rich, and with enough sweetness from the marshmallows, depth from the chocolate, and texture from the cornflakes. These were compared to lace cookies, but with the ingredients of classic s’mores, they are far more whimsical and nostalgic.

Now, I prefer a doughier cookie, but you know what that means, don’t you?
I am just going to have to eat all the dough raw next time.
Aaah, the things we do in the pursuit of good taste.

Almond Joy Pie – Pie Party Live

When I heard about Pie Party Live, I knew that I couldn’t compete with the best of them. I mean, look at all these pies:

Savory pies. Sweet pies. Pies with homemade crusts and sweet fillings and savory fillings, pies made with liquor and exotic fruits, pies with homemade whipped cream and pies with fancy salsa toppings.

Yeah, I’m that lazy girl who likes to eat pie more than I like to make it.

So what’s a gal to do? I guess make the world’s easiest pie. No eggs, no measuring ingredients, no turning on the oven:
Almond Joy Pie
Ingredients:
1 Pie crust (graham cracker, Oreo, or dough are all fine)
1 Can sweetened condensed milk
1 Bag shredded sweetened coconut
1 Bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup silvered or sliced and toasted almonds
4 Tbls. heavy cream, room temperature
Water, to taste

1) Put the chocolate chips into a double boiler, and start to melt it.

2) When it starts to melt, add the cream. Make sure it is room temperature so the cold temperature won’t make the chocolate harden or “seize.”
If the chocolate starts to lump into a grainy ball, add some water and continue to stir. It should break up.

3) When the chocolate is smooth and glossy, pour it into the pie shell, and put it into the fridge to firm up – an hour should be sufficient.

4) In the meantime, blend the sweetened condensed milk and coconut in a bowl.

5) When the ganache (just a fancy word for chocolate and milk/cream that has been melted together)has hardened…

spread the coconut mixture on top in an even, fluffy layer.

6) Arrange the almonds on top in concentric layers - or, what the hell, just toss them all on top.

7) Serve!
This might not be gourmet, but it’s a great dessert. Rich, smooth chocolate underneath sticky, sweet coconut and the crunch of almonds. It really does taste like an Almond Joy Bar! Of course, you could use dark chocolate here, but I am a milk chocolate lover. And if you like coconut, chocolate or almonds, you will love this pie. Thanks to Rodeo Bar for hosting this fun event, and to Jackie and Ken for organizing! Maybe next time, I will even turn on the oven to make my pie…
Yeah, well, probably not.

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.*