Chocolats du CaliBressan whose chef Jean-Michel Carre has won international notice for his French chocolate. Now they have a shop in California so you can sample what he has to offer much better than taking a trip to France, though that wouldn't be bad to do either, would it, Sisters and Brothers?
This is slightly longer feature but I hope you enjoy the twelve individual flavors we are going to reveal to you today. As you can see inside the heart-shaped box the pieces are laid out to offer a visually pleasing display this will be what you can buy from CaliBressan with one except that we'll mention in the course of our review today. Your Chocolate Priestess was assisted by two Acolytes as well for this article and I'll give you their words in italics. We'll start at the upper left hand side and then work our way around the box and finally inward for the final two pieces. This process took a lot of time, a lot of water, and a lot of patience because to fully appreciate our Sacred Substance we must allow each variety, each piece to be experienced fully.
bonbons category. This has a very dark scent with a hint of dye to it when I take a whiff before biting; the color is very dark red, bordering on purple so this suggests a good deal of dye was used. The caramel oozes out a bit as I take off his head first, my general procedure for all headed candies to put them out of their pain quickly. The caramel is more tart than sweet and definitely salty. It blends well with the dark chocolate but I save the rest for my assistant to try because biting again would only let the rest of the caramel loose.
single origin chocolates CaliBressan offers. Single origin chocolate is great when you want to experience the effects soil, moisture, farming conditions, and year to year changes creates in chocolate. I assume most of you know by now that cacao is a plant, a seed from a bean grown on trees but I still find people who do not know this so they are surprised by single origin variety. The fragrance is nicely dark and it makes a very soft snap when I take a bite. Inside the center is firmer than the previous chocolates and it melts almost immediately attesting to the purity. This is a lightly sweet chocolate with an almost fruity hint that that comes solely from the cacao itself and nothing added. Makes me wonder which plantation it comes from since even Tanzanien single origins taste different from one another in my experience. After two bites, I make this last three bites, there is a slight cocoa buzz and that is what I want from pure dark chocolate. At 75% this is also healthy for you too in moderation, of course.
truffle. While this looks like a regular cocoa dusted truffle, and the cocoa that comes off on my fingertips confirms that it is indeed cocoa I see and smell, there is also a strong champagne essence as well to the scent. This is large, at 1.25 inches diameter and clearly hand rolled from textures you can see even in our photo to the right. Taking a bite makes a soft snap and reveals three layers -- the cocoa outside, a dark shell, then a semi-soft very champagne intense dark yet creamy center. These all begin to melt on my tongue and this blends the three layers together. At first, the champagne is strong then it starts to fade until the darker shell and the cocoa dusting become the last flavor in my mouth, lingering after I eat half of this before sharing it and confirming my experience.
I turned to one of our Mocha Acolytes, Tim, for his evaluation of the large Coffee truffle that is up next. Hat (on top) is dark chocolate not a coffee bean, no crunchy bits in the teeth (which he liked a lot). The coffee taste is powerful, but isn't very strong as in from a strong coffee (like espresso). Texture is much like you would expect from a truffle Chocolate and coffee mingle very nicely and evenly evenly. He made a very contented and pleased face when the tried this chocolate.
The round chocolate with the yellow specks must be the Tahitien which should be a vanilla flavored dark ganache in a dark shell. This has a strong dark cocoa scent with a mild vanilla fragrance when I take whiff of it. The shell makes on a soft soft when I take a bite to discover the inside is a deeply bitter soft center. This bitterness suggests a very high cacao percentage and it tempered by a strong vanilla essence. Together these two ingredients create a very intense bonbon that was even a bit too much for this dark chocolate lover to truly enjoy beyond one bite.
Chocolats du CaliBressan is a good example of how chocolatiers and lovers of chocolate are making the world a smaller place. Le CaliBressan may have been created in France but Jean-Michel love for his wife brought his craft to our side of the world. Their chocolate are fresh so you need to enjoy them without four weeks but Valentine's Day is fast approaching so you don't want to wait much longer. Remember the key to keeping chocolate well is to control the moisture and the temperature. The key to enjoying it, is to share it with your loved ones. These beautifully crafted, often unique, chocolates were born of love and they are worthy Sacraments for your consideration this Valentine's Day and any day.