Thursday, June 9, 2011


CHIBERTA A Voyage To The Basque Country

1018 Madison Avenue, NYC

Some people start with the modestly priced something----and then work their way up the pay scale -so-to-speak ---to finish with the best. We know guys who do this with cigars and scotch, for example.

Well we always took a more practical approach and if the best presented itself straight off---we went with it.

And that comes to chocolate too. There is such a massive difference between the mass marketed tidbits and the culinary distinct, it's almost not fair to call them all by the name "chocolate."

Case in point is the premium hgih-end Maison du Chocolat that is based in France, and ships world wide---including to their boutiques in locales lucky enough to have them.
Madison Avenue/78th Street, NYC-teas Salon in the boutique open during store hours

Last week, we attended a tasting of the limited edition summer chocolates--- inspired by the Basque region of southwest France-that happens to be the birthplace of founder Robert Linxe.

A chocolate lovers heaven, we thought as the summery collection of five deeply complex -in -a -good-way---flavors:

Etzia-milk chocolate with floral/honey/wildflower/chestnut---a sophisticates version of milk chocolate that does not even remotely resemble anything we have ever tasted ---in a good way.

Txokolate Iluna of Solemn Ganache an intense dark chocolate with smoky overtones---and with a wonderful after palate taste that reminded us of fine wine---complex yet simple.

Praliné Macaron with almonds and crunch bits of chocolate macarons

Almond Paste with Patxaran a melt in the mouth flavored with a anise fruit liqueur that is subtle.

Espleletako Piperra with hints of the Basque's area Espelette and dark chocolate ganache..not spicy at all---more akin to just a dash would do.

All are brightly packaged in pretty boxes illustrated with the traditional style of housing of that region. ($24-$60)

Also available at boutiques:

 The authentically flavorful sorbets and ice creams of the summer-including a fresh raspberry sorbet that we tried...that wonderfully cleansed our palate with fruity flavor($4.50)

The delicious Macaron Sylia---a light as air crisp delicacy with a crunchy shell of cocoa-similar in texture to meringue...filled with milk chocolate ganache that is nothing like what passes for milk chocolate in the USA...IMHO...or for that matter those leaden macaroons brought out on holdiays.

($2.75 each-$16.50 box of six).

A Salvador Raspberry Mousse Cake-light, intense smooth dark chocolate balanced with semi-cooked sweet/tart raspberry with a delicate chocolate biscuit. DIVINE.

$8/per serving-$110 10/12 servings cake.

We could have moved in---the boutique is so inviting...and it's contents a true luxury.


In case one needs to store---fresh chocolates in a box can be wrapped in cellophane and placed in the vegetable bin of a refrigerator.

INFO including E-Commerce and boutique locations world wide:

J. Ecochard