By now, much has been blogged about last weekend’s Chocolate Show, but I wanted to weigh in with my thoughts on this annual ritual. The event was held at a new venue – Pier 94. The new space offered pros (namely more space) and cons (far-flung location and less “energy”), and I would be pleased to see the Chocolate Show return to the Metropolitan Pavilion next year. There were a host of new chocolatiers at this year’s event – many more new faces than in past years. We sorely missed the cheery ladies of SweetBliss – please come back next year!
We were happy to see some old friends who have impressed us in the past and did so again this year:
- Berkshire Bark – it’s been great to watch this company’s product line expand; we picked up a few bars on our recent trip to the Berkshires (favorites include Jumpin’ Java and Mocha Buzz).
- Chocolove – they were back with new $1 mini bars. This is not haute chocolate (hee-hee), but the bars are cute as can be and tasty to boot (I recommend the Rich Dark 65% Cocoa and the Toffee & Almonds in 33% Milk Chocolate…I don’t normally like milk chocolate, but this bar is addictive).
- Pralus – Pralus consistently offers one of the best products at the show; their single-origin chocolates are high quality and it’s interesting to compare the chocolates from different origins. If you are looking for a holiday gift for a chocolate lover, consider the Pralus Pyramid or the mini version as a stocking stuffer.
And here are our top three chocolatiers from this year’s show:
- Charles Chocolates – Charles made his debut at last year’s show and he was back this year with new products and a NY-based sales rep (whose job I envy). Happily, he still had his charming parents in tow to help pitch his wares. Charles makes high quality and interesting confections that are packaged beautifully. His chocolates are not for the cost conscious, but they are worth every penny. We took home a Candied Hazelnut Bar, Caramel Almond Sticks, Triple Chocolate Almonds, and a Dark Chocolate Peanut Butterfly. Yum!
- Roni-Sue’s – How is it that I live in NYC and had not discovered Roni-Sue’s?! (Perhaps because I really want to go to Shopsin’s, also in the Essex Street Market, but am terrified to go on account of Kenny Shopsin’s reputation.) Roni-Sue’s buttercrunch is, without a doubt, the best toffee variation that I’ve tried (and I love toffee so that is high praise). Sadly, they ran out of samples of their now-famous Pig Candy (see article) so it looks like I will have to make a trip to the Lower East Side to sample this delicacy. If it’s half as good as the buttercrunch, I’m sold.
- L’Artigiano dei F.lli Gardini – The Italians had a strong showing at this year’s Chocolate show with a group booth. Communication was hindered by poor English-language skills, but that was perfectly ok because the chocolate was fantastic. L’Artigiano dei F.lli Gardini was the best of the bunch – we took home a bar of 70% chocolate with sweet salt of Cervia and some sort of gianduia ganache truffles (my Italian is limited…). Now I just need to find out where they distribute in the US!