Category Archives: Chocolates

jacques genin in paris

jacques genin has been whispered as the greatest chocolatier in paris, and has for years supplied 3 star michelin restaurants with chocolates on a strictly need to know basis.   he opened up a retail shop in 2008 not too far from place de vosges, but a bit of a hike away from confectionery ground zero in saint-germain.  yes, it’s taken me 3 years since his opening to make my way there.

is it worth the hike?  YES! everything sold in the shop is made in the kitchen Continue reading

travel + leisure’s food issue

over the weekend, i received travel and leisure magazine’s food issue in the mail. as i flipped through the pages, i found quite a number of items that i’ve both written about and obsessed over in the past year. i thought i’d share some of the magazine clippings, as it adds another perspective, and serves as a bit of a trip down memory lane at least for myself.

the magazine also covered a lot of new food places in different parts of the world that i’m putting on my list of things to do.  it’s an action-packed, taste bud overloading issue filled with all sorts of food porn. . . i’m glad i have my copy.

the japanese kit kat is becoming a bit of a “where’s waldo” exercise for me.  i hit the mega load back in january when i went to tokyo, and then spied some new flavors in london a few months later. according to the t+l article above, the folks at nestle japan have been busy concocting new and more exciting flavors!  i wonder if they’ll ever go the bertie bott’s (of harry potter world) route and create “rotten egg and bacon” flavored kit kats. . . although my guess is that that goes against japanese sensibilities.

remember this place?  the t+l photographers captured a great interior photograph of the pastry display at la pâtisserie des rêves.  the accompanying text in the article gives shout-outs to chef conticini’s tarte tatin.

so i’ve been noticing that i seem to write more about places that i visit while traveling, rather than ones that are close to home.  locanda verde is one of my favorite restaurants in new york city.  the food is rustic, homey, well-made, and it’s also a stone’s throw from where i live.  they have, amazing fig crumb muffins and a to die for sheep’s milk ricotta — happy sheep creamy, spiced with cracked pepper, herbs and orange truffle honey, and oh my god so addictive.  i really can’t stop myself when i order it, which is why, i must now stop ordering it.  and now that i’ve spilled the beans (again), i’ll probably never get a reservation!

covent garden japanese kit kat sighting

a few weeks back, i found myself wandering down garrick street headed towards the paul bakery covent garden branch.  i wanted to get a slice of their apricot tart. while en route, i passed by a store window featuring of all things — the japanese kit kat.  it felt not too different, i suppose, from a chance meeting utterly unplanned with an old friend, who lived on the other side of the world, while vacationing in bora bora.

“oh hello! konnichiwa!  is that you?  what are you doing here? what’s been going on in your life?”

“what? you’ve been busy i see!  two new flavours? soy mochi and vegetable!  how delightful!”

well, i better sign off now before they drag me off to the looney bin for having a conversation with a candy bar.

here’s the address in case anyone is interested in picking up the dialogue:

cybercandy
3 Garrick Street
London WC2E 9BF, United Kingdom
0845 838 0958

japanese kit kat

happy new year! can’t believe it’s a new decade already.  fittingly, i’ve decided to start off the decade with a posting on japanese kit kat.  they aren’t exactly new.  they’ve been around for a while, but the level of newness and innovation amongst japanese kit kat is quite startling and admirable all at the same time.  i’m hoping that the new decade brings the same level of re-invention and creativity. . .

i hold k and g responsible for my japanese kit kat obsession.  we’ve been googling the web in search of the most bizarre kit kat flavors of all time.  so of course, when i found myself in tokyo i had to actually get my hands on some samples.  (purely for research purposes as they say).  i found myself buying every possible flavor of kit kat in the AMPM convenience store as well as the narita airport.  must say that the variety at the airport is quite fantastic.

i came back with the following flavours:

  • matcha
  • royal milk tea
  • strawberry
  • soy sauce
  • wasabi
  • cherry blossom tea coffee, actually
  • ginger ale

there were quite a few more flavours that i didn’t buy because i ran out of room in my carry-0n (especially with the new FSA rules for international flights bound for the US), and there were a few varieties (like cappuccino and mango) that i wanted to buy but couldn’t find. i have yet to break open the packages.  they’re so lovely to look at, and sometimes the possibility of how they might taste is more fascinating than how they actually do taste.  i think i’ll stare at my stash for a few more days before breaking open the packaging. dum dee dum. . .

rose ganache chocolates

rose ganache filled chocolates

rose ganache filled chocolates made by the world's worst chocolate maker

i am the very worst chocolate maker in existence.  i make a huge mess.  i don’t always temper my chocolate properly such that it’s sometimes impossible to get it out of the mold without a lot of banging. i don’t work quickly enough, causing my chocolate to partially set before i can swish it around the mold.  i over fill my chocolates with too much ganache.  did i say that i make a huge mess? i’m finding chocolate in places of my kitchen that i didn’t know chocolate could go.

on the flip side, my very encouraging friend Y likes to tell me that i’m the worst chocolate maker amongst those people who actually know how to make chocolate.  she’s very encouraging.

the beauty of the chocolate making process is that the end product (assuming i haven’t messed it up too much) often hides a multitude of sins.  and once the ooey gooey-ness melts in your mouth with the fragrance of rose, who’s thinking about the mess?