Friday, February 5, 2010

Boutique Chocolate From Choclatique

Nut brittle and toffee are among my favorite confections. The combination of toasted nuts and buttery sweet filling is impossible for me to resist. Enrobe either in chocolate, and I’m officially addicted. I could eat a whole pound in a sitting. Ok, maybe a half a pound. Definitely five or six big pieces, at the very least. Excuse my ramblings—I get a little frenzied just writing about this stuff—it’s like crack cocaine for sweet-tooths like me. Recently I’ve become aware of a couple of outstanding products by one of my favorite American-style chocolatiers, Choclatique. Choclatique, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a super-premium quality chocolate company founded in California in 2003 by Ed Engoron and Joan Vieweger, “chocolate and confectionery dreamers and futurists,” as they refer to themselves on their website. Their goal? To marry “classic French-style artisan techniques with old-fashioned American ingenuity…to create the most beautiful, distinctive, luscious and authentically American chocolates in the world.”  They have, apparently, done just that. One of my favorite items from Choclatique is their Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites (pictured above). This buttery brittle is made in small batches with U.S.-grown Spanish red-skin peanuts, coated with milk chocolate, and dusted with finely chopped peanuts. It’s not a hard brittle, it’s soft, almost flaky, so it doesn’t require a visit to the dentist right after ingesting. My other fave is their cousin, Chocolate Almond Toffee Bites. Made with a combination of roasted California almonds, Hawaiian-grown cane sugar, butter and Madagascar bourbon vanilla, these little squares are coated in 64% chocolate and dusted with chopped almonds, cacao nibs and a touch of Saigon cinnamon. Choclatique’s Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites and Chocolate Almond Toffee Bites are both unbelievably good, and they’d make an ideal gift for Valentine’s Day. Not that I’m hinting or anything.