I realize I can walk into my kitchen at any time, and just open my tempering machine and take a spoonful of warm dark or milk chocolate to curb my craving, but that doesn’t stop me from occasionally indulging in truly exquisite chocolates made by extraordinary chocolatiers, like Jacques Torres.
Jacques, dubbed Mr. Chocolate, is my secret culinary crush. Well, it’s not so secret, really. I think my husband was actually a little jealous of my affection for this adorable French pastry chef when he had his show on the Food Network years ago.
Watching Jacques create chocolate sculptures and decadent desserts, made me giddy, which at the time said so much. I had suffered from chronic daily migraines for several years, was in pain constantly, had to close my chocolate shop, and spent way too much time on the couch. Jacques’ show inspired me to get up and get back in the kitchen.
Over the years, I’ve made many of Jacques’ recipes but had not ever had the pleasure of tasting his chocolates, so when we finally traveled to New York City a few years ago we just had to stop in one of his shops.
I was so excited standing outside his Hudson Street store, but then I stepped inside the doors, my enthusiasm grew, exponentially.
There sitting at the very first table, was Jacques. He was on the phone. I turned to my husband, with a big cheeky grin and mouthed “Oh, my God, it’s him.” I felt it was meant to be that of his four stores, we just happened to go where he was working that day.
I mulled about the store for a while, trying to be cool. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t working.
I was mesmerized as I peered through the glass at his chocolate factory. I stood there in awe before noticing movement behind me. I turned to see Jacques’ smiling face. I approached him, and he could not have been more gracious.
Thanking him for being the motivating force that finally got me up and out of bed, was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I was nervous as I spoke, but the warmth I felt from him, made me relax. He was even more charming in person than on television.
My mouth had been watering since we got in the cab to go to the store, so waiting in hopes of talking to him, had taken a lot of restraint. In the end, the wait was totally worth it.
I filled a basket with chocolate Cherrios, corn flakes, malted milk balls and almonds. I grabbed a few chocolate bars, and packaged caramels before heading over the the chocolate counter that spans nearly the entire length of the store. I couldn’t help myself, by the time we were finished picking out the flavors we most wanted to try, I had almost 30 pieces packaged up for us, plus a few of the giant freshly baked cookies.
We grabbed a spot on a comfy couch right in front of the candy kitchen and savored each decadent bite, while watching Easter bunnies and bonnets being handcrafted.
After my first bite of a raspberry infused milk chocolate ganache coated in a thin crisp layer of creamy milk chocolate, I melted. The fruit flavor was so pronounced, it was like eating a freshly picked raspberry coated delicately in chocolate. The milk chocolate coating was creamy and smooth with hints of caramel, which I love. My husband couldn’t wait to try the lemon and it did not disappoint. The dark chocolate ganache had an intense lemon flavor. The tartness was balanced by the deep rich dark chocolate exterior.
We couldn’t stop at just one, and before we knew it the Fresh Coconut, Chocolate Mint Tea, Pineapple Pastis, Passion Fruit, Cinnamon Praline, European Peanut Butter, Chai Tea, Caramel Nut Noir, and one of my absolute favorites, Chocolate Peanut Brittle were gone. Each bite as enjoyable as the one before it.
Time passed too quickly, we had a plane to catch, so we replenished, buying more of our favorite flavors, and as we were about to leave we bumped into Jacques once again.
The entire experience was as wonderful as the confections were sweet.
I’ve been feeling a bit down this winter, as my daily headache has returned. So, to cheer me up, my husband suggested we order some of Jacques’ Chocolates for Valentine’s Day. That’s about as romantic as my husband gets, so I jumped at the chance and got our order in early.
We selected a 50 piece box of assorted chocolates, a bag of malted milk balls, my husband’s guilty pleasure, and a heart box filled with truffles.
When our package arrived, I immediately opened the heart box to find pretty pink, white, and brown truffles and didn’t wait to try one of each. I loved the dark chocolate truffle, but that word “love,” can’t even come close to describing what I felt after tasting the Kir Royale, a champagne infused black current cream truffle. This tiny piece of candy truly transported me to another worldly place. The small round chocolate is dusted with a tart berry flavored powder which just put this piece of candy over the top, for me.
I felt the same when I popped an Orange Cream truffle into my mouth. This diminutive white chocolate orb filled with an exquisite Grand Marneir ganache was a little piece of heaven.
I forgot about my headache for a few moments, and truly enjoyed this culinary pleasure. I’m so glad my husband suggested it.
I hope you all have a sweet Valentine’s Day. We plan to stay in, enjoy a nice meal together, watch a movie, and have more chocolate.