Last week, La Maison du Chocolat kindly invited me to their chocolate tasting session called Paracours Initiatique: Tamanaco. It’s a nice, intimate setting in the back of their Upper East Side boutique’s café; adorned in handsome warm wood and a marble topped bar off to the right.
Also, the adorable jungle-themed Easter decorations add a bit of playful flair to the grown-up setting. It’s edible, by the way. It’s made of molded, colored white chocolate with milks and dark chocolates.
Once time has struck 6:15 PM, the tasting course started and proceeded with a slideshow presentation with Michael Olsen provide some passionate insight, history, and anecdotes about chocolate. There was a sprinkling of La Maison du Chocolat’s brief yet successful history of 32 years started by Robert Linxe.
In between several pauses during this course, we took our bonbons (seen above) and eat according to theme. For example, we start with the light stuff: milk chocolate. This isn’t the gross Hershey bar kind of milk chocolate, mind you. This is very pleasing, delicious milk chocolate. Notes of sweet milk powder and floral nuances were tasted in the first two bonbons. We progressed on to the darker stuff and it gets better, in my opinion (I’m a dark chocolate girl), ending at the Caracas.
Do note, this particular class, Tamanaco, focuses on the pure chocolate ganaches rather than their infused ones (like lemon or raspberry), but Mr. Olsen was kind enough to offer us to try a few: the sublime Rigoletto (dark chocolate version filled with caramel ganache), the bright, lemony Andalouise, and the Cannelle (made of Cassia cinnamon that would transport you to Southeast Asia if you close your eyes and think about the flavor).
After eating all of those bonbons, he continued on by making ganache and a shortcut version of chocolate mousse. Nope, there’s never enough chocolate…
Yes, Mr. Olsen has tantalized us with his vast knowledge of chocolate and let us indulge on the fine chocolates over the course of two hours. I never would’ve thought I could skip dinner by just eating all of those chocolates like I had that night but I have.
At the end of the course, we’re all given a goody bag filled with literature about chocolate terminology, their future tasting sessions for the spring and summer season, and the best part – more chocolate! (See above photo). It’s a refresher to the mind as to what you tried earlier that evening – three Rigolettos and four Caracas. I shared these with my mom and she’s enamored with the Rigolettos.
For other photos of that evening’s tasting session, please click here.