Archive for chocolate / candy

Hidemi Sugino (Tokyo) – Mousse Cake Master

Hidemi Sugino

Down an anonymous alley, just above Ginza, the obsessive line up early to nab a mythical mousse cake – “the best in the world” – one man bakes as many cakes as he feels necessary for the day. He then calls it a day – the freedom of being great. The cake is not guaranteed past eleven so the necessary strategy is arriving early.

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Amano Cuyagua – Best Chocolate Bar Period (With Interview)

The local media likes to report that a chocolate movement has developed in the Bay Area but the most important story might be taking place in Utah. There, Art Pollard is creating the best chocolate in the United States, if not the world. That’s a bold statement that I can’t make with absolute authority, having not tried every chocolate bar out there, but the new limited edition Amano Cuyagua bar is that good.

Amano Cuyagua

Cuyagua is a small region in Venezuala that is known to have great Criollo and Trinitario beans. It’s located near Ocumare, the site of the previous Amano Ocumare bar. From the Amano web site:

If you follow birds in Venezuela in their annual migrations, they flock to a series of cloud-forest covered coastal mountains. At their base is a small-secluded valley known as Cuyagua — home to cocoa plantations dating to the early 1700′s and some of Venezuela’s finest cocoa.

(Image taken from ParksWatch.Org)

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Richart (Paris, NY, SF, Barcelona, & More) – Intense Citrus

It’s easy to mistake the San Francisco Richart store for yet another shoe store in Union Square – a generic window filled with a slew of white and gray boxes evokes the necessary minimalism to sell high heels. I walked by many times without a moment’s glance before someone told me it was a chocolate store. Intrigued, I bought boxes of the Citrus and Floral chocolates. One bite and I was instantly hooked – never had I had such clean, intense flavor in a chocolate before.

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Kee’s Chocolates (NY) – Best in America?

Are Kee’s Chocolates the best artisan chocolates in the United States? One woman, Kee Ling Tong, makes the chocolates in a tiny store-front in Soho (though I have seen helpers from time to time and the single store-front has now expanded to two small store-fronts.) This isnt the assembly line with marketing acumen of Vosges or Jaques Torres, nor the Paris-pedigree of La Maison du Chocolate and Richart; there’s only the shopkeeper (and helpers) with her name on the front of the store.

Manhattan adores her too – lines are frequent and if you arrive too late, you’re out of luck.

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Doughnut Plant (NY) – Beware of the Waistline

You could start your own doughnut plant, right around your waist, if you visit Manhattan too often.

My first visit to Doughnut Plant left me wondering what the hype was about. Sure, more-artisinal-than-normal ingredients for a doughnut but the end result left me unsatisfied. The doughnuts are made by hand with natural ingredients – fresh fruits, sea salt, fresh milk, fresh butter, and unbleached unbromated flour. Glazes follow the same formula. It’s a study in dialectics – healthier junk food and hoity toity doughnuts that are affordable for nearly everyone.

It’s an easy story for the media to latch onto (and they did) so I viewed the place with some scepticism after that first visit. (And there are others who believe the popularity has led to a decrease in quality.)
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