Gâteau et Ganache: Bonbons That Demand Your Respect (and Rule Your Palate)
When we wrote up the Battle of the Bay for Chocolate Supremacy some time ago, one of our readers wrote in with a suggestion of their favorites. We tasted them all and have written up some, but one of our favorites, Palo Alto based Gâteau et Ganache wasn't yet available in SF so we held off. Owner Anni Golding recently e-mailed to tell us she'd landed some space at one of our favorite chocolate shops, CooaBella, as of June 18th, which is a perfect excuse for us to taste test some bonbons. Here's what you can expect:
Le Citron (Organic Meyer Lemon)
Light lemon, slightly of the curd and a dark chocolate shell. Suggests spring.
Le Noix de Coco (Coconut with Coconut Liqueur)
Lightly milky (as in coconut milk, a good thing) coconut flavor in a nice shred of flavor. More delicate and sophisticated than most of the breed. Pleasantly tropical - leaning to pina colada. Very nice.
La Marguerite (Lime with Tequila) Lime W Tequila
Tastes like a nice, light, key lime pie with a waft of the tequila's assertiveness presenting at the end. Also well suited for spring.
La Vanille (Vanilla with Dark Rum)
Comes off initially like butter, then a delicate development of the rum and vanilla and finally the melting good dark chocolate. Reminiscent of the Clairesquares Brandy Butter we loved over Easter. Just a touch of warmth from the rum. An evening or end-of-meal chocolate.
Vin et Épice (Spiced Red Wine Ganache)
Notes of cherry peel, candied, followed quickly by sweet baking spices live up to the spice side of the name. Takes me to the holiday time of year with hot cider heating on the stove and pies in the oven, a clove studded apple somewhere in the mix. Delicious, but speaks to fall, or a cup of hot chai.
Le Whiskey (Irish Whiskey)
Dense to marshmallow-density chocolate center enrobed in the dark delicious chocolate that reminds me of Dove Bars when they were a regional product, and before they were shrunken in size, coverture thickness and quality and bought out by M&M/Mars. Densely of chocolate with only the merest whiff of anything else.
What I like about these chocolates is the light, delicate decadence, freshness, and sophistication -- which I'm sure is why Michael at CocoaBella bought into them as that aptly describes the chocolates he carefully collects from around the globe. They come off as sophisticated parcels of nuanced flavors true to their names, and yet remain dangerously light enough to eat like popcorn --very expensive, chocolate bonbon popcorn though, so I'd recommend a slow savoring, one at a time, with focused attention on the delicate temporal shifts in flavor from start to finish.
They deserve your respect, and respect in food is a slow conscious consumption -- one a day will do as a special day end treat -- so you can enjoy the light lingering flavors as they finish all the longer.