About a week ago, I was invited to meet the founder and chocolatier Joan Coukos of Chocolat Moderne.
When you arrive to the factory, it’s actually part retail and offices. The main door leads you to the chocolate making area where you will inhale the intoxicating aroma of chocolate. There’s a partitioned area of sorts where you would find a long table filled with mesmerizing gems of exotic, globally inspired chocolate bonbons and their signature coral colored boxes of flavored chocolate bars.
Chocolat Moderne is founded by Ms. Coukos, a savvy, outgoing woman who has a deep passion for all things chocolate. She started working in the New York banking scene. Her extensive career included six years in Moscow during the rough times of Russia’s transition to a market economy, after which she returned to New York and Wall Street in 1999.
In December 2000, on a trip to Brussels, she was enchanted from the old world, handmade chocolates and began creating recipes back in her tiny Manhattan kitchen. Her co-workers became the first enthusiastic guinea pigs and from those praises, she started to seriously learn how to make chocolate bonbons.
Technically, this isn’t the first time I’ve came across their chocolates. I have tried and eaten many of their exquisite chocolates (an example) and chocolate bars.
I’ve sampled a few Greek-inspired flavors the crispy, nutty Baklava bonbon that somehow the chocolate melded so well together, the salty punch of the Kalamata Olive bonbon really drummed to my recent obsession for salty sweets, and robustly flavored, anise-flavored Ouzo bonbon. I also had a particular bonbon that was inspired by Ms. Coukos’ wedding cake (photo on bottom row, center) it’s filled with a milk chocolate ganache and cardamom caramel, the Amerena cherry bonbon that has the wonderfully boozy, liquid cherry center, and from her Japanese inspired Kimono Collection the Soy Miso bonbon that was on the salty but not as sharp as the Kalamata Olive bonbon and nuttier from the use of tamari soy and miso paste.
All were simply delicious and I almost felt like I was transported to different parts of the world from the chocolates.
Before I left, I picked up a couple of bonbons to share with a few friends. The Les Nymphes lychee bonbon was intense with lychee flavor from its pâté de fruit and lychee infused ganache. The La Dolce Grapefruit and Kumquat were balanced yet intense with the citrus fruit’s flavors. The Baklava is a repeat because I was enamored with the textures of that bonbon. The heart-shaped white chocolate Matcha green tea bonbon was delicious and the chocolate’s sweetness tempered the bitterness well, and finally, the Persimmon Peach was sublime.
In all, Chocolat Moderne is all about the clean, robust, modern flavors in chic packaging that make great gifts for everyone and recently, I’ve been told, they’ve expanded to wedding favors.
To view more of my photos of this visit, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):