Box Chocolate Review

L'Atelier du Chocolat

Info Details
Country USA   (NYC)
Style Classic      
lo
med
hi
CQ
Sweetness
Intensity
Complexity
Impact
This atelier (or chocolate studio) in Manhattan sizes up, square footage wise, about as small as an MRI unit with its coffin-tight tube design, plus just enough standing room in the corner for the funeral director... err... lab technician wearing noise-canceling headphones to guard against the sound of the buzzer... the sonic equivalent to the loud infusions in these pieces.
Presentation   4.6 / 5
standard acetate transfers but extremely well-applied, coupled with solid enrobing technique
Aromas   3.8 / 5
pretty wide chocolate plume followed by fruit jam & flowers of nearly-artificial intensity
Textures/Melt   8.1 / 10
Shells: medium gauge
Centers: balancing mid-weight ganache
Flavor   40.4 / 50
classic with contemporary infusions of medicinal-strength... leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination as to what the flavor additive is... it's overstated; such high-keyed loads on the mix-ins curb chocolate's presence without entirely erasing it
Quality   23 / 30
Indelicate, & routine as far as inspiration points go, but overall technically proficient.
Selections
Couverture: Valrhona
Tanzanie 75% - cherry sunburst fades to blossom, then onto a dry cocoa tannin finish; respectful

Venezuela 72% - Eric Gerard's signature piece; basically Tanzanie without any fruit inflection (to pose the conundrum: An African better than a Venezuelan?'); very plain & cream laden instead

Ylang Ylang - one of the great fragrances in the world meets the greatest flavor in it; this comes on... oops, too strong as ylang's rather anise & jasmine-like acetates bubble up to soap-level & scrub away any chocolate trace

Wasabi - hard on the heels of a hi-fruited chocolate that withers under the stinging lash of the horseradish

Red Forest Berries -- at one time strawberries & raspberries maybe came from the forest (ditto cacáo) but, c'mon man, they're about as wild now as an English garden; sounds exotic though & that sells... as does Smucker's™ which this fruit purée resembles -- a jelly jam spread across Dark Choc; berry bright & berry forward

Yuzu - very bright-breaking with a wild offset: heated pepper streaks across the citrus whose contrasts complement each other exceedingly well & chocolate the bridge between; outstanding

Caramel - soft ganache hits the standard & then some with a brooding Dark character at the finish (centered around licorice); well tailored

Hawaiian Pink Sea Salt - an uncommon Sea Salted Caramel; multifaceted... raisin skins, salt & caramel within a Dark-on-Milk Chocolate complex; a bit segregated... though, still, a peak in the collection

Reviewed 11/11/11
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