Friday, August 28, 2009

Antoine Amrani Chocolates

Antoine Amrani chocolates
Sour cherry, Grand Marnier, coffee and dark chocolate. That was the bon bon that won me over. I'm not sure what the inspiration was for the combination, though I was intrigued because coffee beans come from fruit called coffee cherries. I've always wanted to try the fresh fruit of the coffee tree. It's supposed to be very sweet. But it was the bitter edge of sour cherries, coffee and dark chocolate that I found so intoxicating.

The former Executive Pastry Chef from the acclaimed Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia, who trained at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, Antoine Amrani recently launched his own chocolate company making exquisite confections. Coffee Sour Cherry was just one of the imaginative flavor combinations in my nine piece chocolate assortment.

I'm always happy to try a sample of high quality chocolates and those from Antoine Amrani did not disappoint. Really great chocolate is so satisfying that only a piece or two is plenty. I liked all the fruit infused flavors including an Earl Grey (bergamot) chocolate, the Orange Grand Marnier with a hint of cardamom and the intense Raspberry. The chocolates are very smooth, with balanced flavors and that melting moment that feels like settling into a pile of fluffy down pillows. It doesn't hurt that they are handmade and pretty as sparkling jewels.

It's interesting that chocolate sales continue to rise during tough economic times. Like lipstick and top shelf cocktails, buying a few pieces of great chocolate is something indulgent that you don't have to feel terribly guilty about. This year I'll be participating in the Hunger Challenge again and will have to forgo such treats for a week, but for right now, I heartily recommend pampering yourself or someone one deserving with the best chocolate you can find.