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Chocolate or Bon Bons?


aguynamedrobert
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The question of all chocolate questions...So what is the favorite here at Egullet? 

Chocolate Bar or boxed chocolates?

It's a tough one but I would love to see everyones favorite way to eat chocolate...

Probably not what you were looking for, but I think it depends on the quality. I'd rather eat a good quality chocolate bar than mediocre boxed chocolates, and the inverse applies as well.

I also figured I would take the opportunity to mention how much I enjoyed these:

persephone chocolates

which a guest brought to me as a gift last weekend. I ate the entire box while watching The Sopranos. They were great!

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Good point...lets say that the chocolate bar and the boxed chocolates are both the best you can get...

I'm sure it sounds more sophisticated to make some remark along the lines of, "If the chocolate is top-notch, it should be left alone" with your nose in the air...

But I'm pretty honest. Bring on the fillings. Caramels, ganache... the more unusual the better! I'll take a great box of chocolates over a bar any day!

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Hmmm... I would say that I prefer plain chocolate.... just letting it melt in my mouth pure without any intrusions to interupt that creamy smoothness... I don't like the creamy fillings - you know, creamy strawberry or orange...etc, but I do like caramel fillings... oh, and those bars you can get with the crushed caramel bits in it... those are really good. And sometimes, bark that has nuts and dried fruits in it, oh, and peppermint bark is really good too.

Does this answer your question? :blink:

Ok, really if I had to pick one it would be solid chocolate. :biggrin:

Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

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I'm sure it sounds more sophisticated to make some remark along the lines of, "If the chocolate is top-notch, it should be left alone" with your nose in the air...

But I'm pretty honest. Bring on the fillings. Caramels, ganache... the more unusual the better! I'll take a great box of chocolates over a bar any day!

Amen to that. The subtleties of good chocolate are wonderful, but I find varied chewy/creamy/crunchy fillings/additions far more alluring than the overtones of one gourmet pure chocolate vs. another. Of course, the chocolate has to be good in the first place - Hershey's waxy-tasting stuff need not apply.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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While the decision changes depending on what I feel like eating, on the whole its filled chocolates for me (but I am heavily biased given I make bon bons as a hobby). I like the different flavours and how they come together.

That said, there are plenty of times I go out and buy a bar of Valrhona or Cluizel and just sit back and enjoy that on its own.

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To me, the best bonbons are those that incorporate the same principles as the best bars. A good bonbon should be dominated by the flavors of the chocolate used, with a sophisticated flavor profile. As the subtler notes of the chocolate will be lost under the cream and sugars, the chocolatier's role is to create a new profile that highlights the chocolate's character while complementing it with well-chosen infusions etc. I like the opportunity to play with texture and presentation that a bonbon offers, so I guess I lean that way. Bonbons have a more universal appeal, and I like being able to relate to people who aren't chocolate enthusiasts.

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I prefer a solid chocolate bar above all. I keep several different kinds in my cabinets and eat chipped off pieces as the spirit moves me. My second favorite way to eat chocolate is in baked goods, and last is boxed chocolates. The fillings in chocolates, wonderful as they are, distract me from appreciating the chocolate flavor as much. Not that boxed chocolates are a distant third on my favorites list. Offer me some and watch how fast they disappear.

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I think the best chocolate candies, such as those from La Maison du Chocolat, offer the greatness of top-notch chocolate (I believe they're based on a custom Valrhona blend) enhanced by the artistry of the candy-maker. So, I think almost by definition the best candies are "better" than the best plain chocolate, because they're chocolate plus, or, rather, chocolate synergy. It's the equivalent of any great chef taking great ingredients and making them into a finished dish. In the hands of a great chef, the dish pretty much has to be better than the ingredients -- otherwise we're not talking about a great chef. A chocolatier like Robert Linxe is essentially a chocolate chef, taking the finest ingredients and creating a finished composition that is greater than the sum of its parts. At the same time, one doesn't always want the best, and for the chronically overstimulated palate sometimes less is more. So there are indeed times I'd choose a piece of plain Valrhona chocolate over a La Maison du Chocolate candy.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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When we were running our business, it was probably 90% bon bons (truffles, caramels, etc) and 10% bars.

Now that we are not making our own, and we have not found any good local chocolatiers in St Petersburg, it is 90-100% bars.

If I had an unlimited supply of both: I would reach for the bon bon 75% of the time....

Patrick Sikes

www.MyChocolateJournal.com

A new chocolate review community

PS I Love You Fine Chocolates

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I think the best chocolate candies, such as those from La Maison du Chocolat, offer the greatness of top-notch chocolate (I believe they're based on a custom Valrhona blend) enhanced by the artistry of the candy-maker. So, I think almost by definition the best candies are "better" than the best plain chocolate, because they're chocolate plus, or, rather, chocolate synergy. It's the equivalent of any great chef taking great ingredients and making them into a finished dish. In the hands of a great chef, the dish pretty much has to be better than the ingredients -- otherwise we're not talking about a great chef. A chocolatier like Robert Linxe is essentially a chocolate chef, taking the finest ingredients and creating a finished composition that is greater than the sum of its parts. At the same time, one doesn't always want the best, and for the chronically overstimulated palate sometimes less is more. So there are indeed times I'd choose a piece of plain Valrhona chocolate over a La Maison du Chocolate candy.

Hi all,

Let me preface my comment by saying that I am sure that I am prejudiced:

Is it really the case that fine dark chocolate is only an ingredient?

Unlike a raw product such as an orange which is what is is until used in a recipe, (though it can certainly be impacted by the climate, unusual weather patterns, harvest timing etc.), fine dark chocolate is based on a combination of at least two raw products, at least one of which being handled in very particular and complex ways by someone who ostensibly has put a lot of time and effort into understanding this multifaceted process.

Not only does climate, weather and harvest time/method impact the end chocolate, but so does the method and length of fermentation of the cacao, drying manner and length, roasting, refining and conching, as well as different decisions regarding percentage of ingredients in a particular formulation. Of course there is also the choice of the chocolate maker regarding what type of cacao or cacaos to use in the first place.

So, in my opinion, a finished piece of fine dark chocolate has just as much thought put into it by the chocolate-maker, who one might indeed call the chef in this case, as any truffle has. I think that a better way to put it is that with fine dark chocolate, it is a work of culinary art with which one may build even more complex works of art, such as truffles. However, I do not think that complex automatically makes something better. As with anything, it will come down to a necessarily subjective preference, and mine lies squarely on the pure chocolate side of the fence. However, I have no problems making friends with a nice enrobed ganache, so I'm not all bad.

Best,

Alan

--edited to remove redundant signature--

Edited by A Patric (log)
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Hi all,

Let me preface my comment by saying that I am sure that I am prejudiced:

Is it really the case that fine dark chocolate is only an ingredient?

Unlike a raw product such as an orange which is what is is until used in a recipe, (though it can certainly be impacted by the climate, unusual weather patterns, harvest timing etc.), fine dark chocolate is based on a combination of at least two raw products, at least one of which being handled in very particular and complex ways by someone who ostensibly has put a lot of time and effort into understanding this multifaceted process.

Not only does climate, weather and harvest time/method impact the end chocolate, but so does the method and length of fermentation of the cacao, drying manner and length, roasting, refining and conching, as well as different decisions regarding percentage of ingredients in a particular formulation.  Of course there is also the choice of the chocolate maker regarding what type of cacao or cacaos to use in the first place. 

So, in my opinion, a finished piece of fine dark chocolate has just as much thought put into it by the chocolate-maker, who one might indeed call the chef in this case, as any truffle has.  I think that a better way to put it is that with fine dark chocolate, it is a work of culinary art with which one may build even more complex works of art, such as truffles.  However, I do not think that complex automatically makes something better.  As with anything, it will come down to a necessarily subjective preference, and mine lies squarely on the pure chocolate side of the fence.  However, I have no problems making friends with a nice enrobed ganache, so I'm not all bad.

Best,

Alan

Patric Chocolate

Alan,

When I get ahold of some of your fine new dark chocolate I'm still gonna want to make bon bons out of it, once I figure out it's nuances and figure out what compliments it. To me that's the challenge. But of course I'll still enjoy it all by itself first.

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Alan,

When I get ahold of some of your fine new dark chocolate I'm still gonna want to make bon bons out of it, once I figure out it's nuances and figure out what compliments it.  To me that's the challenge.  But of course I'll still enjoy it all by itself first.

Dear Kerry,

Fair enough; and I'm sure that I would be very happy to try anything that you create with it!

Best,

Alan

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When I am working with very unique fine dark chocolate such as Vintage Plantations, or Amano, or even if I had yours Alan, I like to mould a very straight forward ganache with no added flavouring to showcase the chocolate. A fine couverature needs nothing else!! And yes, I do like to pair as well, but that comes later after I have showcased it.!!!

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Is it really the case that fine dark chocolate is only an ingredient?

I think it's similar to the distinction between a cheese-maker and a chef. A great cheese-maker (or wine-maker, or mustard-maker, or soy-sauce-maker) is certainly a great culinary artist. Cheese is an amazing and wonderful product eaten alone. But it's also an ingredient. As much as I love Fourme d'Ambert, I'm likely to choose Alain Passard's tarte a la Fourme d'Ambert, poires fraiches over a plain piece of Fourme d'Ambert. No insult to the cheese-maker, but Passard takes that ingredient to another level.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I agree, chocolate is an ingedient and can be taken to another level, in the right hands of course, and with the most complimentary ingredients! However a really good dark chocolate, preferably single estate, such as Pierre Marcolini or Valrhona is pure heaven on its own!

Edited by alex chef (log)
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