Made From Scratch
The Winning Taste of Debauve & Gallais Chocolates
by Andrea DaRif

Paris takes the art of living well seriously. A city renowned for its luxurious tastes, it has for centuries been synonymous with sybaritic style and gastronomic pleasures. Today, however, you do not have to jet to the Left Bank to savor one of its sweetest secrets. Debauve & Gallais, the celebrated French chocolatier whose establishment first opened on rue des Saints-Peres in 1800, has recently opened a chic little shop on Madison Avenue in New York City, offering the creme de la creme in handmade chocolates.

Sulpice Debauve, the company’s founder, first dispensed his pistoles to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. A chemist by profession, he extolled the healthful properties of cacao. Since then, his creations have pleased the palates of chocolate connoisseurs around the world, winning a cult following for his sinfully rich confections. The list of aficionados includes Vincent Van Gogh, who bartered paintings for chocolate, and Marcel Proust, who favored the ganache truffles.

One of the keys to the sublime success of Debauve & Gallais is its ingredients. The highest quality criolla beans—the royalty of cacao—are selected from the best growing regions in the world and roasted according to the company’s own specifications to retain the elegantly bittersweet flavor. The resulting couverture—the basic blend of ground beans and cocoa butter—is then molded by hand into a delectable assortment of truffles, pistoles and bonbons. A minimal amount of sugar is used, in order to allow the rich nuances of the cacao to come through, and no preservatives or dyes are allowed. The added ingredients, which include Antilles rum, Turin chestnuts and Turkish raisins, complement the high standards of the chocolate, and the velvety ganache fillings feature such flavors as coffee, jasmine and Earl Grey tea. Golfers will find the dimpled white chocolate orbs filled with caramelized almonds and hazelnuts an irresistible reward after a round.

It is only fitting that many of the chocolates are highlighted with a touch of gold leaf, for the creations of Debauve & Gallais are a rich treat indeed; $88 per pound for bonbons; $95 per pound for truffles.

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