CHOCOLATES YOU MUST KNOW – TOP TEN CHOCOLATIERS

INTRODUCING THE SEVENTH CHOCOLATIER:

RECCHIUTI, SAN FRANCISCO

The Artisan:

The Bay Area is the epicenter of great artisanal chocolate products. Michael Recchiuti is one of the top masters of the trade and his chocolates are a true works of art.  He has a production facility in the southeastern section of San Francisco, and a successful, high profile shop in the Ferry Building.

The Chocolates:

The truffles and bonbons contain a perfectly smooth and silky-textured ganache with intense flavors and elegant presentation. We highly recommend that you do not miss out on this one if and when you are visiting the San Francisco area; however, if you can’t get there personally, you can make your order online and enjoy the entire box upon its arrival to your home. I can’t imagine a more elegant and extravagant gift than these delicate and perfectly balanced chocolate creations.

Michael Recchiuti produces a sublime Champagne Truffle with 2001 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine and a delicate touch of powdered sugar, which is a must – and you will never buy truffles from anyone else. His crunchy sesame nougat is another stunner with its earthy depth, and addictive texture that lingers in one’s mouth for eternity. The Tarragon Grapefruit is a leap of faith into the unknown, but every bite is a reaffirmation of Recchiuti’s extraordinary talent. The Fleur de Sel (salted with French sea salt) contains a pleasantly chewy burnt caramel coated with dark chocolate; the flavors are nicely balanced and the burnt caramel is one of the best we have ever tasted (and we tasted plenty). In fact, we can honestly declare that Michael Recchiuti should be imitated by anyone that wants to create the perfect burnt caramel (not to mention, he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame as the World’s Best Burnt Caramel Producer)

Lemon Verbena is an extra-bitter, dark chocolate ganache with a bright and clear taste of Lemon Verbena, coated in dark chocolate with a beautiful white leaf pattern adorning the top surface. The chocolate is rich and refreshing at the same time. The Force Noir is made with extra-bitter chocolate ganache infused with whole vanilla bean. It is absolutely out-of-this-world; the extra-bitter chocolate gives a pure, clean, intense chocolate experience and the vanilla bean adds that sweetness you need to balance the bitterness. I cannot complete this review without mentioning the Piedmont Hazelnut chocolate. It is a beautiful piece with silky, buttery texture of the gianduja ganache complemented with the light crunchiness of the Piedmont hazelnut (the best in the world). We also ordered their Dragee Sampler which comes with Burnt Caramel Almonds, Hazelnuts, Peanut Butter Pearls, and Cherries Two Ways – WOW! Talking about indulging.

I own a copy of Michael’s book: “Chocolate Obsession” and I am glad I do. At first, I hesitated to purchase it because, being a chocolate snob, I decided that I had enough training; I do not need another book to tell me how to temper chocolate. I was surprised, however, that despite my resistance, I still learned  a few things or two from his book; not to mention the experimentation of creating some his recipes was truly events to remember.  Although I do not reproduce his creations in my repertoire (I do not think it would be fair), some of his techniques assisted me in developing my own master pieces.

The book primarily discusses the simple forms of chocolates (i.e. truffles, dipped and moulded chocolates), for the home maker, but I was delighted that he included his signature creation: the s’mores. In general, what I liked most about Michael’s book is the tone of his writing. When you reading the recipes, or the stories attached to it, you feel as if an old friend wants to share his knowledge with you in the most  intimate manner possible. Anyone interested to learn and experiment in working with chocolates should own a copy. Moreover, it is a great conversation opener when placed on your coffee table in the family room.

How to Order:

One can always order online: http://www.recchiuti.com. Recchiuti’s elegant signature is also evident on his website.  Every box is appealing and  every chocolate is described in the most tempting manner. They are listing their gift boxes, as well as their individual bonbons, from which you an create your own personalized candy box. They also sell sauces (see above the writeup about their burnt caramel); and chocolate bars  (We will review the bars in another upcoming post).