The Winning Taste of Debauve & Gallais Chocolates
by Andrea DaRif
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