You're not going to believe this, but I unknowingly exercised self-control at the Chocolate Show yesterday, an event dedicated to the exhibition of the best turd colored food in existence (and probably other colors). The weird thing is that now, 12 hours later, I'm realizing this. It's honestly making me a bit sad; who the hell doesn't go chocolate-eating crazy at a CHOCOLATE SHOW? Maybe being around other people, unlike last year when I went solo, gave me some common sense (you know, like not eating a shitload of chocolate).
But I don't think that was it. Perhaps my mood was overly elated by the fact that I actually had friends to share my chocolate-eating joy with instead of the usual solitary chow-down in a pathetic, sugar-controlled state of mind. Rarely have I gotten to eat chocolate with friends (surely never such a large amount) and talk about it. Like so:
"Oh my god, try that dark chocolate. It's so good. Definitely dark but not necessarily sweet or bitter."
(eats the chocolate) "Yeah, that is good."
"Dude, that toffee almond chocolate was so good."
"Oh yeah, I know! I'm thinking of buying some."
"Me too. ...It was really good."
"Try this chocolate covered almond!"
"Wow, this is really good."
"Like 'I'd kill babies for it' good?"
"...I don't know about that."
Etc. For someone like me (as in, not very social, doesn't usually hang out with many people, likes to eat with people), getting to go to what's essentially a chocolate buffet with three of the awesomest (I've used that word so many times to the point that I'm convinced it's not an atrocity of butchered English) people I know (Carol, Eunice, and Patricia). Although I didn't realize it at the time, the social aspect made a huge difference in my chocolate eating experience. It wasn't just about "eating chocolate", but about "expressing my excitement about eating chocolate in an animated/loud manner and not looking like a total dumbass while doing it, or at least being around people who understood my madness".
So even though I probably didn't eat the worth of the ticket price ($25) in chocolate, it was totally worth going.
...God knows I must've consumed 1000 calories before noon.
We got there at 10 AM and waited in a fast-moving ticket line. Outside the Metropolitan Pavilion was the Schokinag Hot Chocolate Hut. I'm sure that wasn't the official name, but I rarely get to use the word "hut" excessively. So here I go: HUT HUT HUT HUT. They were giving out free samples on an adjacent table, samples which disappeared quite quickly. I didn't actually see people buying hot chocolate but I assume someone did at some point during the day.
We checked out the Altman Building first, which wasn't as crowded as the main room. Piles of Pralus chocolates and Michel Cluizel bars beckoned, like so: "Hello, we're piles of chocolate. Eat us. Duh."
We headed to the Payard table in the back. I've never had Payard chocolate before but they nicely let us choose a free piece from a list of available flavors. I tried a piece with caramel in it. Mm...good. Obviously. There isn't much I can say besides it had really good caramel flavor. If you don't know what chocolate-covered ganache tastes like, you need to find some and eat it. Seriously.
[I think I've underestimated how many people have actually eaten Payard-esque chocolates. If you're not into chocolate, I guess you don't have much reason to eat them, but if you are into chocolate or food in general, go find some! Admittedly, I'm not a huge truffle/bon bon (is that the right term?) fan. Don't get me wrong: of course, I love eating them, but I usually go for chocolate bars instead of individual chocolate pieces. However, my mum is the opposite, meaning I've had plenty of opportunities to indulge in chocolates. Our favorites are Pierre Herme's chocolates from Wegmans. Yeah, Wegmans has roughly five billion more cool points than every other supermarket chain out there.]
That was a long aside. ...and I'm actually not done yet. I'm not usually blown away by chocolate pieces for whatever reason, finding it easier to enjoy a simple chocolate covered hazelnut, or something of that sort. However, I still recall the first time I had "gourmet" chocolate when I was in 10th grade, in the form of Richart's tiny caramel-filled chocolates. Best caramel I've had. Ever. You can disagree, but make sure to tell me where the better caramel is while you're at it.
I'm not going to talk about every vendor at the show or else I'll never go to sleep. And I'd really like to go to sleep, considering that I woke up at 8 AM and I get something like "not nearly enough sleep" on a regular basis (on the flipside, I suppose I get a lot "being awake" on a regular basis).
Sweetriot specializes in chocolate-covered cocoa nibs in varying percentages of chocolate-ness. Their nice packaging and fun, hippie-esque attitude (one of the ingredients is LOVIN') surely made them popular. I tried some samples and they weren't really my thing, but I can imagine a lot of people liking the high snackability factor. And, um, tastiness. Where the hell am I when these "sweet riots" occur? Not at the riots. Damn.
Belcolade displayed bowls of large chocolate chips, I assume meant for baking. I only tried one piece but I really liked it. That's all it takes to make me happy: BOWLS OF LARGE CHOCOLATE CHIPS.
I distinctly remember seeing the Galler booth, yet bypassing it because...I suck. I had Galler chocolate once, a milk chocolate hazelnut bar, which I loved (I don't know if that was because it was the first thing I had eaten all day while waiting for hours in line for a Beck concert, but I'm pretty sure it was good on its own right). Besides that I suck, I was heading towards...
Mary's Chocolates adds to the list of "things the Japanese adapt from other cultures and makes really well in their own style and damn, WHY DO I HAVE TO BUY ALL THIS CHOCOLATE" (it's a weird list, I'll admit). Last year they were my favorite, more for show than taste. I mean, they taste good, don't get me wrong. I didn't try any truffles this year, but I did take advantage of the free green tea ganache samples.
I bought a box last year but this year, I resisted. Surprisingly, one sample was enough for me. I'm truly surprised I didn't take more, seeing as I stood in front of them for quite a long time, watching as they replenished the plates and hands came out of nowhere for more. ...dude, what's wrong with me? Seriously? Wha?
Anyway, green tea truffles are basically a white chocolate ganache lightly flavored with green tea (it doesn't have the bitter tea taste; I can't really explain it). Really good, as melt-alicious chocolate always is. Like anything else, the taste depends on the texture, which can range from ...cooled ganache to not-as-cool, super-soft ganache. I prefer cooled, but I'll take it in any shape or form.
Mary's Chocolate is such a highlight because there's no other way to get it in NYC. Then again, I'd love any excuse to go to Japan: "Er, I need this chocolate. What, Japan's got temples and stuff? No no, just chocolate...yeah, that's why I'm going. You heard me." Methinks we need more Japanese chocolatiers. The only specialty Japanese confectionary in NYC that I can think of is Minamoto Kitchoan, which is fine and dandy, except I prefer chocolate.
Another highly was Chocolove's new Toffee and Almonds in Milk Chocolate bar, which I checked out due to Cool Hunting's recommendation. Milk chocolate with bits of toffee and almonds, you say? Jesus. Christ. I like toffee but one problem is that there tends to be too much of it in whatever it's incuded in, say, in large chunk form. Chocolove's bar has it in itty bitty pieces, meaning the chocolate bar is mainly chocolate with hints of toffee and almonds. If you like toffee and almonds, you must get this. If you don't, then what the hell is that about? They were selling these bars 2 fo $4. I didn't buy anything because I'm a dumbass. Patricia bought two since obviously, she was thinking straight.
I'm too lazy to go over the rest. Expect more later.