Now that Valentine’s Day has come and passed, I would be remiss to forget my one true love in chocolate. Many years ago, when La Maison du Chocolat, founded by Robert Linxe, first opened in Manhattan, I went in having no idea of what to expect. I purchased a few of those precious gems and left, curious to see what they tasted like. Strolling down Madison Avenue, chocolates in hand, I fell in love. I don’t mean a crush or some cheap infatuation the likes of the Tim Tam cookie — I mean true, devoted love. If you have ever had one of those truly life changing moments, then you can understand. Standing there on Madison Avenue I found Nirvana — a chocolate experience the likes of which I had never had before and his name was Roméo. He was a coffee cream au beurre (butter ganache) draped in dark chocolate. A truly original piece, intensely flavored and rich yet light all at the same time. To this day, no other chocolate (and I have tried quite a few) has been capable of coming close, let alone rivaling this master.
I was so enamored that at one point I took one of the tasting classes that they offered at La Maison, with Monsieur Linxe himself and asked about the magic that Roméo held. Alas I was denied any answers, although a lunch date and a stage in France were offered instead. Monsieur Linxe knew that those pretty little babes held a secret that could never be revealed or it would break their spell. Desolate, I left with only the consolation of a bag of those beauties. My pain was assuaged.
Flash to the present, my heart has been broken. They have stopped carrying Roméo. Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou? You have spent every birthday, anniversary and valentines day with me. Now I am left stunned, lost in a sea of pain. I must persevere. I will find love again. And this time it is Rigoletto, made in the same style as Roméo except caramel flavored. Second best for sure, but I will find a way to love him and heal.
Oh, despite my singular fascination, they also make many other wonderful treats at La Maison du Chocolate. Their pastries are divine, especially the Pleyel, a dark chocolate and almond pound cake–like treat as well as their chocolate éclairs. And my “healthy” treat, the milk chocolate covered almonds.