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Fine Chocolate (Kansas City)


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For les bon bons, I go to Christopher Elbow (see here)... any others? I know Andre's Confisserie makes some (see here), which are gorgeous but chalked full of vanillin, preservatives and other additives. Dean & Deluca's have a case of chocolates from NYC, and some of them are okay (see here).

Here's the more challenging question: where to get good eating chocolate - like bars and such. I've been yearning for a good bar with nibs. The Better Cheddar has probably the best selection I've seen - but they're way over-priced and besides the usual suspects - Valrhona, El Ray, Scharffenberger and two Vosges Haute Chocolate bars that I like (Red Fire and the Oaxacan), their selection is pretty spotty. Whole Foods, surprisingly, and depressingly, is worse. Shcharffenberger and Valrhona are as good as they get. I know D&D's probably has some, but I never (for some reason) found them/bothered to look. Oh, and I know, surprisingly, World Market has some - again, Valrhona and Scharffenberger and the ubiquitous(ly sugary and creamy) Lindt.

I'm looking for a "specialty" chocolate store - or one that carries a full(er) and more novel "varietals." I wonder if Christopher Elbow's new store will carry any....? Any others?

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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If you don't mind driving to Lawrence, Au Marche has a decent selection.

Not quite open yet but Green Acres Market might be worth a visit. I don't recall how broad their selection is but it's a safe bet what they have won't be riddled with additives.

There is a place on 95th (Sweet Supply Shoppe) that sells molds and other supplies. I can't attest to the selection of chocolate but it might be worth a call.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

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No Dagoba in Sight?

Oh yes, sorry, Dagoba at Whole Foods for sure, but not sure about the others.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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If you don't mind driving to Lawrence, Au Marche has a decent selection.

Not quite open yet but Green Acres Market might be worth a visit.  I don't recall how broad their selection is but it's a safe bet what they have won't be riddled with additives.

There is a place on 95th (Sweet Supply Shoppe) that sells molds and other supplies.  I can't attest to the selection of chocolate but it might be worth a call.

Thanks Judy!! Three new places I've never heard of!!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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If you don't mind driving to Lawrence, Au Marche has a decent selection.

Not quite open yet but Green Acres Market might be worth a visit.  I don't recall how broad their selection is but it's a safe bet what they have won't be riddled with additives.

There is a place on 95th (Sweet Supply Shoppe) that sells molds and other supplies.  I can't attest to the selection of chocolate but it might be worth a call.

I can't be completely sure, but from my one visit to Sweet Supply Shoppe, I would highly doubt they have anything in the way of quality chocolates. It's more the kind of place you go to get baby bootie molds! :wink:

You will love Au Marche u.e., lots to look at there... they do sell Christopher Elbow chocolates and I remember an earl grey chocolate from another company that was very good, so I would be hopeful of finding other options there too. I know they sell Callebaut chocolate chips in bulk. On a side note, they also have grey salt in bulk there, and it's a fantastic deal, especially compared to Penzey's!

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

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I can't be completely sure, but from my one visit to Sweet Supply Shoppe, I would highly doubt they have anything in the way of quality chocolates.  It's more the kind of place you go to get baby bootie molds!  :wink:

You will love Au Marche u.e., lots to look at there... they do sell Christopher Elbow chocolates and I remember an earl grey chocolate from another company that was very good, so I would be hopeful of finding other options there too.  I know they sell Callebaut chocolate chips in bulk.  On a side note, they also have grey salt in bulk there, and it's a fantastic deal, especially compared to Penzey's!

Ooo, good tip on the sea salt.

Whole Foods also has a pretty impressive amount of baking chocolates or "bulk" chocolates - including Callebaut. But, I don't consider that good eating chocolate, and I personally would even hesitate baking with it...

I do know WF and The Better Cheddar also have Venti chocolates, which can be good. I guess I'm just looking for some novel imports that aren't uber commercialized. I guess I'm going to have to make a trip to Au Marche... perhaps roll in dinner as well somewhere over there in Larrytown!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Katie's right about the grey salt. The first time I bought it there I was dubious because it was SO cheap. But the quality (if not the grain) is fine and I use it all of the time now. It makes you realize how scandalous the mark-up is on Penzey's and, worse-yet, Napa Style.

Au Marche is a treasure. Other things we routinely buy there are all manner of Knorr and Hero products (Roesti potatoes in particular), caviar, charcuterie, cheeses, cornichons, spices, gifts wrap and boxes . . . the list is endless. And go next door to Brits while you're in the neighborhood and the world's your oyster. :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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While I don't mind the detour, can anyone tell me about the chocolates at this fabulous-sounding Au Marche?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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How long does it take to get to Lawrence from K.C.?  We're headed out there the weekend after next, and it sounds like Au Marche is a place I need to visit!

Depends on where in KC you are - from the southern or western 'burbs it's only 20-30 minutes; if you're in downtown/midtown/plaza, add another 5/10/15; for eastern 'burbs it can go up to an hour depending on traffic. Lawrence is Ann Arbor-like in many ways (the schools have historic ties and, until lightening struck, shared identical auditoria) and there are [finally] some decent restaurants there. PM me if you want more info - I don't want to stand in the way of UE's chocolate quest :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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While I don't mind the detour, can anyone tell me about the chocolates at this fabulous-sounding Au Marche?

Um, did you look at the chocolate page on their website? :hmmm:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Depends on where in KC you are - from the southern or western 'burbs it's only 20-30 minutes; if you're in downtown/midtown/plaza, add another 5/10/15; for eastern 'burbs it can go up to an hour depending on traffic.  Lawrence is Ann Arbor-like in many ways (the schools have historic ties and, until lightening struck, shared identical auditoria) and there are [finally] some decent restaurants there.  PM me if you want more info - I don't want to stand in the way of UE's chocolate quest :wink:

Oh Judy, you could never stand in the way of anything, silly! :raz: I know you're just trying to be helpful... dont' mind me, I'm just a chocolate fiend who's needing a good fix right now! :laugh:

And, annarborfoodie, having just lived in A2 for the past few years, I can second Judy's description... except, no offense, I prefer Lawrence... it's more idyllic. Perhaps Au Marche will be the analogous Zingerman's Deli (I know, I know, it's legendary)...?

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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While I don't mind the detour, can anyone tell me about the chocolates at this fabulous-sounding Au Marche?

Um, did you look at the chocolate page on their website? :hmmm:

Doh! Judy, always trying to make me look bad!! :laugh::laugh:

No, I didn't. :blush: Bad u.e.!! Bad u.e.!! :wacko:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I almost forgot... there's a new chocolate shop in Topeka called Hazel Hill, but I have not been yet. My aunt had chocolate maple leafs made there for my "Bon Voyage Brunch" before I left for Canada. The website doesn't have much info, but you could always call and ask, I'm sure. http://www.hazelhillchocolate.com/Hazel_Hill_privacy.htm

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

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Doh!  Judy, always trying to make me look bad!!  :laugh:  :laugh:

No 'trying' involved m'lad - you pretty much just walk right into it :raz:

It occurs to me that you didn't list Annedore's in your original post. It's more in the bonbon category than fine, imported bar chocolates but it is a KC tradition and I admire their whimsical designs.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Doh!  Judy, always trying to make me look bad!!   :laugh:  :laugh:

No 'trying' involved m'lad - you pretty much just walk right into it :raz:

Okay, you got me there. :cool:
It occurs to me that you didn't list Annedore's in your original post.  It's more in the bonbon category than fine, imported bar chocolates but it is a KC tradition and I admire their whimsical designs.
Oh yes, I did forget Annedore's - a slip of conscience, I'm sure, as I'll have to admit, I've never been or tried... but that needs to change quickly. I'll take a looksy at the website. :wink:

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Quick question....... which bar/bulk chocolate would one of you recommend for my flourless chocolate torte recipe (a modified version of the Ultimate Oblivion Torte that I call "Satan's Glorious Victory"....long story, but I get so tired of the run of the mill "death by chocolate"...."ultimate decadence" renditions of the same thing), AND which of the above mentioned stores sell it? I've used whatever bittersweet chocolate I could find at the grocery stores for my first couple of trial runs, but obviously need to use a better product now that I'm almost starting to look like I know what I'm doing.

Edited by Zeemanb (log)

Jerry

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Quick question....... which bar/bulk chocolate would one of you recommend for my flourless chocolate torte recipe (a modified version of the Ultimate Oblivion Torte that I call "Satan's Glorious Victory"....long story, but I get so tired of the run of the mill "death by chocolate"...."ultimate decadence" renditions of the same thing), AND which of the above mentioned stores sell it?  I've used whatever bittersweet chocolate I could find at the grocery stores for my first couple of trial runs, but obviously need to use a better product now that I'm almost starting to look like I know what I'm doing.

I'm partial to Valrhona, although I know many bakers swear by Scharffenberger. I think Valrhona tends to be finer and Scharffenberger can be a tad thick and clay-like for me... I don't know exactly what consistency "Satan's Glorious Victory" is supposed to be like. But, personally, if Satan were to triumph over me, it'd have to be Valrhona, I don't think Scharffenberger would do me in the same way.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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The last time I was at Whole Foods I found El Rey Chocolate from South America. It is wonderful, right up there with Valrhona. Whole Foods had several different bulk chocolates close to the Speciality Foods department. Callebaut, Valrhona and perhaps another South American kind were there. The El Rey would be great in a satanic torte.

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maftoul.

Thanks! I must have missed the El Reys at Whole Foods last time. Will have to look again. I've never baked with it before.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Hopefully they'll still have it! Whole Foods is famous for suddenly not having something and then saying " I don't believe we've carried that."

I used to buy white anchovies by the ounce and fleur del sel by the ounce, but this summer they no longer had them. The very nice young man behind the cheese counter said the above. And the chocolate may be somewhat seasonal. It was last Christmas when I got the El Rey. For more info:

www.elreychocolate.com

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Interesting topic. I've only been in town a short while, so can't really offer any new places. I was favorably impressed with the chocolate bars available at The Better Cheddar, at least the Prairie Village location. I was unimpressed by Annedore's when trying it a few years back. I tried Christopher Elbow during the first Friday arts walk last weekend, and I thought they were quite good. I was especially impressed with the $1/piece price (during the arts walk only) and the freebies for my two kids (2 and 4)...the woman stopped me from purhcasing and said they save their seconds for children. 8 little jewels for $4 made me quite happy.

As for Andre's...made the trek down south a couple weeks ago on another errand, hoping to fit in a visit to the new French bakery. Couldn't remember where it was, and so stopped at Andres instead. I was quite unimpressed on a number of levels. I just wanted a few pastries, savory preferably. The display case was so full of such a wide variety of goods as to cast aspersions on their quality. I asked a woman behind the counter if they had an savory pastries, croissants, what have you. She gave me a blank stare..."Uh, I...I'm sorry...some what?" Not off to a good start. After explaining what I was looking for, I learned that no, something like a ham and cheese croissant isn't part of Andres repertoire.

So I settled for a few sweet ones, and the quality was wanting. Not bad exactly, but not the ethereal fresh-baked pillow or tender flakiness of very good pastry. Certainly not enough to justify the calories or the drive. I preferred the stuff at Napoleon's in Westport, for example.

Another phenomenon that bugged me at Andres, and I've noticed this at few other places around town, was a prominent television playing the Food Network or food production videos. It's like a sports bar for foodies. Ugh. Is this becoming more common? Even worse, I asked the counter lady if it bugged many people, and she confided that, well, she was trying to get them to show NCAA tournament basketball. Now, I love the NCAA tournament, but, man, this isn't what I expected from what I thought was a local, boutique-y Euro-style bakery and lunch spot.

Anyway, sorry for the interruption...I'd like to know, u.e., what kind of offbeat chocolate bars you've liked elsewhere, unable to find here, and what you found inferior of the less mainstream brands at The Better Cheddar.

Cheers,

Aaron

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u.e., a suggestion, go out and pick up those chocolates from all those different places and have a chocolate tasting to see which one you prefer. You might surprise yourself. Don't forget to invite the rest of us to the fun. Just remember that most chocolates don't get shipped in the heat of summer. So with the holidays coming up, you will probably find fresher newer bars. Have you checked with Williams Sonoma to see what they are carrying now?

'Aaron, welcome to the fun.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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