Wednesday, October 8, 2008
For the past few years I've wanted to go to this huge chocolate salon (i.e., convention) that is in Paris every October; by all reports everything you could possibly want in chocolate is available, there, in chocolate (think wearable dresses, antique chocolatières, and lots of samples!). Plus it's called a "salon" which is reminiscent of intellectually stimulating social events in 18th century France. These historical salons, in my mind, are always hosted by beautiful and accomplished women who are wowing their guests with their abilities to provide excellent and creative food and well-educated conversation - nourishing body and mind. Who wouldn't want to go to a Chocolate Salon?
While I haven't made it to the Paris salon yet, I did manage to get to a much smaller-scale chocolate salon in Pasadena this past Sunday. I thought it was well worth the time and money; $17.50 for a pre-purchased ticket got me access to a large room lined all around with tables representing various chocolatiers, each offering samples ranging from slivers of chocolate bars to whole ganache squares like those pictured above. After once around the room, I had eaten just the right amount of chocolate - satisfied but not sickenly stuffed.
A few highlights: the silk-screened artisan chocolates pictured here, offered in flavors from chili pepper to jelly doughnut and each patterned differently; a haunted house built from modeling chocolate and other kinds of edible decorations; chocolate liqueur made from vodka, Dutch cocoa, and cream (great for desserts or chocolate martinis!); and, not least, some marvelous gourmet marshmallows which we were allowed to roast ourselves (some of the best I've had, made with kosher gelatin).
I purchased the box of silk-screened chocolates after sampling the wares (rather than gathering up the samples in Tupperwares like I saw some people doing...); at $6 for this box, I thought it was actually a good deal, although an unpredictable assortment of flavors. I shared one from the box with my grandmother, who graciously exchanged this little chocolate rat for it (left from Chinese New Year chocolates which each represented one of the Chinese horoscope animals):
I'm now busy scheming about my next chocolate AND marshmallow creation!