Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to the Chocolate Show!!!

I swear I have ADD. I'm in New York, then I spaz out and go to Kentucky, then I find a random motivational clip - I hope you guys can hang with my insanity.

I want to focus this entry on one of the chocolate companies at the Chocolate Show that truly impressed me - Chocolat Moderne. Not only did they have a serious sales person in their booth - she was great - she was moving their bars like there was no tomorrow. No haughtiness, just enthusiasm for a great product. She was approachable, made high-end chocolate accessible, and I'm betting moved a lot of product. But I wanted to buy more than the bars, so I spoke with Michael Schwarz.

He hooked me up with two fabulous items:

I want you to see their distinctive packaging first - it's coral and brown - very nice. One item was sea salt caramels (HOLY COW - these are amazingly delicious!):

Here's the description from their website:

In Salt Talks, the salted caramel meets three of America's favorite flavors: coffee, smoke and pecans! The ‘coffee’ flavor is our classic Madame ‘X’tasy caramel containing sea salt, Illy espresso and dark chocolate. The milk shell holds a salted caramel with an additional sprinkling inside the shell of coarse sea salt and chopped pecans. Finally, the white shell holds a salted caramel seasoned with sea salt smoked over Welsh Oak.

These will make your eyeballs roll back into your head. I'm not kidding! Men, you should buy these for the woman in your life! My least favorite was the coffee - but only because I don't like coffee. If you're a coffee drinker, you'll probably adore it. I have found that I really like caramels with a salty touch. If you've never tried the combo, these are a delicious, decadent place to start. Wow!!!

Michael also recommended an assortment. Look how gorgeous these guys are:

They look like they have a touch of gold dust on them. They are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. These are going to be a little more challenging than the caramels. There are flavors like:

Madeleine Marron ~ silky truffle ~ chestnuts and dark Haitian rum in a sophisticated, smooth dark and milk ganache

Hazelnut Hystérie ~ crunchy praliné ~ pure, deeply roasted hazelnut paste with milk chocolate and caramelized sugar

La Dolce Grapefruit ~ soft caramel ~ our award-winning signature flavor, a perfect match of the tartness of fresh grapefruit and the sweet creaminess of caramel

Raspberry Rendez-vous ~ silky truffle ~ intense flavor with jazzy raspberry jam layered on dark ganache with raspberries

Mon Petit Kumquat ~ silky truffle ~ aromatic kumquat and earthy 66% Caribbean ganache

Caramel Caresse ~ soft caramel ~ luscious caramel with Poire Williams Pear and Eau de Vie

Snake Charmer ~ silky truffle ~ 72% Venezuelan ganache with exotic, sweet spices

Parlez Pistache ~ crunchy praliné ~ we've concentrated the essence of pure pistachio in a paste with white chocolate and crunchy rice crisps

Havana Heat ~ silky truffle ~ naturally fruity 64% Madagascan ganache with habanero pepper, our award-winning 'hot' chocolate

The Player ~ silky truffle ~ 72% Venezuelan ganache with smokey, peaty Single Malt Scotch

Rhapsody in Green ~ soft caramel ~ juicy green apples and Calvados, bracing flavors from the Normandy coast

Pumpkin Pique-Nique ~ crunchy praliné ~ toasted pumpkin seed praliné with pumpkin pie spices, milk chocolate, and caramelized sugar

I won't lie - some of these scare me (grapfruit? peaty Scotch?). But I am really intrigued and want to try them.

But here's the real story of Choclat Moderne. I stopped by their booth late in the game. I already had two bags of stuff. I had tried lots of samples. It was crazy crowded. I was close to being over it.

But these folks were nice and had enthusiasm. And gorgeous chocolates! I bought my assortments (which are not cheap - they are worth the price, but I spent a nice little chunk of change.) Michael was great - we talked about the blog and he was really nice. They were one of the few booths that could take credit cards (a smart move in my book). They gave outstanding customer service is a wildly chaotic environment.

I wandered around the show a bit more, watched some food demos and walked the couple of miles back to my hotel (hey, I just ate about 20 samples of chocolate - I needed to walk!). But now I was carrying all this stuff. And it was dark and rainy. I know - I'm stubborn that way. Taxis are for the weak.

I get back to my hotel and I am looking with great pride (and lust) at all my loot. And I notice I don't have my stuff from Chocolat Moderne! It's nowhere! It was almost $50 worth of chocolate! I started thinking - did I drop it at the show? Did I leave it in the demo theater? I was so mad at myself! I thought if I went back to the booth Michael might think I was a crazy person. But there were a lot of people around and we had a challenge getting the credit card machine to work. Surely I left it there! CRAP! (Remember, I was up at the crack of dawn to fly in, I had already walked to the show and back, it was dark and rainy, ARGH!)

What to do....get a cab and spend more money for what could be a wild goose chase? I mean maybe I did drop the chocolate somewhere or someone else picked it up. I would be so mad if I not only lost the chocolate, but threw more money away on cab fare. So, yes, the stubborn one walks all the way back to the show. (Now you might see how I can eat all this chocolate and not get fat - I am clearly insane. My mania burns a lot of calories.)

I go back in and head for the Chocolat Moderne booth. I see Michael and ask hopefully, "Do you remember me?" Michael says "Yes - I left you a message! You forgot your chocolates!"

Michael tried to find me at the show (which was impossible - the place was a mad house) and when he couldn't, he took the business card I had given him, called me and sent me an e-mail! How amazing and cool is that? I love Chocolat Moderne!!

If you saw how pompous some of these chocolatiers were, you would appreciate Michael even more.

And they gave me a discount code for you, dear readers!! If you want to order some of this amazing chocolate, input this promotional code on the order page: FRIENDF426. You'll get 15% off your order of $30 or more. Thank you, Michael!!!


Candy Gurus said...

umm. WHOA. You walked 20 blocks, twice, for chocolate.

Wow you are committed. Impressivo.

All those big words to describe the chocolate and's oh so confusing for me. But I love your passion, kid :)


Denise Ryan said...

Ha, ha! I know, Matty! Not only am I clearly off my rocker, I feel so high-speed quoting all those fancy ingredients. The sad thing is I really just like stuff like caramel and peanuts. I can never be a chocolate snob. But I will draw the line at Choclate Pez. And if they ever make a choclate Circus Peanut I'm marching on the White House.

Salty Mouth said...

Hi Denise,

Brilliant idea for a blog. Who doesn't love chocolate?! Do you ever make your own chocolate confections? If so, have you tried flavored sea salts to accentuate any?

I ask as I make artisan Fleur de Sel salts in Seattle ... Vanilla, Caramel, Orange Almond Cardamom, Coconut Garam Masala ... just to name a few.

Upon interest, give our site a peak:

Denise Ryan said...

Wow - I WISH I made chocolates!! No patience. But those salts look amazing!! What a great idea!! Any confectioner worth their salt should try those! (I know - I just couldn't help it!)