- according to Sulpice Debauve
Purveyor to French kings and a must for all true connoisseurs, Debauve & Gallais is pleased to offer a singular range of dark chocolates featuring an exceptional grade of aromatic cocoa (many consisting of 72%, 85%, even 99% cocoa) aimed at an exclusive clientele of chocolate purists. Many aesthetes and gourmands have attempted to define the rules for chocolate tasting. For our part, we offer several reflections made by our founder, Sulpice Debauve, on the subject. These reflections were taken from correspondence dating back to the 1830s and reveal his thoughts on the ideal circumstances, moment, and methods of tasting.
FIRST RULE: Circumstances
- a spiritual state
SECOND RULE: The moment
- heightening one's awareness of tastes and aromas
The ideal moment for tasting a dark chocolate bonbon is between meals. In effect, hunger sharpens the perception of cold aromas while the beginning of the digestive process awakens the perception of hot aromas. It is also possible to approach tasting in this way: before meals, taste "hot aromas" - in this case, ganaches - and after meals, taste only "cold aromas" - or pralinés. "The palate appreciates all best when its tasting ability isn't muddled by a pressing hunger or the saturation of the tastebuds following a large meal."
THIRD RULE: Methods
- perception and enjoyment of the details
Debauve's instructions for eating chocolates are precise: Place a chocolate in the middle of your tongue. Chew slowly, several times. Let the chocolate linger for several seconds, during which time you may notice a warm sensation from the outer coating of cocoa as it melts on the tongue. The bonbon - still resting on the palate - then begins to withdraw into a blend of subtle aromas until finally it overwhelms the palate with all of the richness of its flavors.
Some advice for the proper care and enjoyment of the chocolates
We make our chocolates following artisinal recipes using carefully selected raw materials. Our chocolate is guaranteed to be made with pure cocoa butter, and without the use of soy lecithin,dyes, preservatives or additives. As a result, our chocolates are fresh foods and must be cared for as such. We highly recommend that you enjoy the chocolates within two weeks of receipt to appreciate their freshness. Keep in a cool, dry place: 60-62°F (17-18 °C) is ideal but room temperature is suitable as well. It is best not to store the chocolates in the refrigerator/freezer, hot rooms or cars, in direct sunlight, etc.
We suggest that you keep the chocolates in a consistent temperature-controlled environment. Exposure to sudden varitaions in temperature or humidity may result in "blooming"- a separation of the cocoa butter from the cocoa mass that results in a whitening of the outer coating of the chocolate but that does not alter the taste of the chocolates at all.
Like fine wines, our chocolates should be tasted at room temperature for maximum enjoyment.When trying several at a time, we recommend a sip of water to cleanse the palate between each piece. For more information on chocolate tasting, please see our Three Rules of Tasting.
|Caramel||mixture of milk, sugar and butter|
|Ganache||mixture of cocoa with cream, butter or milk|
|Gianduja||an Italian specialty, a ground mixture of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate|
|roasted almond grains cooked in a caramelized sugar|
|Nougat||poached egg whites mixed with honey, sugar, almonds and pistachios|
|Pâte d’amandes||almond paste - trimmed almonds ground together with sugar|
|Praliné||roasted almonds and hazelnuts cooked in caramelized sugar and ground to various degrees (from very coarse to very fine)|
Q: Why are your chocolates not shiny like most other chocolates?
A: Most chocolates available today contain dyes, preservatives and other undesirable substances - all of which we forbid to be used in our products, with the exception of the dyes necessary for the silk- screened prints on some of the bonbons. Among these additives, soy lecithin is commonly used by chocolate makers to give a beautiful sheen to the chocolate, as well as for stabilization - delaying the inevitable separation of the cocoa butter from the cocoa mass (called "blooming"). Our chocolates are finer and more delicate, and are also more difficult to create, but the exclusion of this additive enables us to offer a pure, authentic chocolate whose taste and virtues are not compromised.
Q: Where are the chocolates made?
A: The chocolates are created in our workshops in France using traditional, time-tested recipes, some dating back 200 years!
Q: Is your praliné made primarily with hazelnuts?
A: Contrary to popular belief, the best praliné is made with almonds or a carefully calibrated mixture of almonds and hazelnuts - but not of hazelnuts alone. Our praliné is a true French praliné, and is very expensive and difficult to create. We invite you to try any of the various pralinés on offer in our boutique and taste the difference!
Q: Do you offer dark chocolates - chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa?
A: French chocolate is singular in that it is the least sweetened, and we would argue the truest, chocolate in the world. We are very proud of this heritage and have upheld it for over 200 years. Most of our chocolates are dark, coated with 72% cocoa or greater, and more importantly from the finest harvests of cocoa beans in the world. We are similarly strict with our other ingredients using the best almonds, pistachios, rums, etc.
Q: Are your chocolates moulded or coated?
A: With very few exceptions, we follow the traditional artisinal method of carefully shaping our chocolates without moulds and then covering them with chocolate. There is a great difference in taste that all true connoisseurs will recognize...
Q: Do chocolates make you put on weight?
A: Any food consumed without moderation will cause weight gain, however, we have always produced chocolates that are made with greater quantities of cocoa, and far less sugar, butter, and cream than other chocolates on the market.