>La Maison Du Chocolat, Summer Collection Tasting event. 1018 Madison Ave NY, NY (Multiple locations)

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>What an absolute honor to be invited to an industry-only tasting event at the finest chocolate shop in New York. I was warmly greeted by Haley-the-hostess who presented me with my press kit detailing the delectable chocolates I was about to enjoy. I was led into the back room to find a dozen other food writers schmoozing around small tables of the sweets I was about to indulge in. I found Horacio, the gentleman who invited me and profusely thanked him for allowing me in on such an exclusive event. I honesty felt privileged to be there and was treated like a V.I.P the whole time.
I was then given an extensive tour of the desserts on each table, and had plenty of one-on-one time to learn about the specifics and ask my many questions. I took my photographs during this tour so that I’d be able to taste everything afterwards without the distraction of my camera.
I started with the Salvador Raspberry Mousse Cake. As beautiful to the eyes and it was in my mouth. The slight crunch of the raspberries in the filling contrasted wonderfully with the smooth, creamy mousse. The ganache on top glistened and melted in my mouth. The overall flavor was incredibly rich, but somehow light and airy as well. A perfect first course.
Next, I moved on to try the BEST macaron I’ve ever had in my life. Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, macarons are a French pastry, more like a crisp meringue cookie made of egg whites and almonds and filled with various delicious creams. This one was the Macaron Sylvia: made of a shell with cocoa, and filled with luscious milk chocolate ganache, notes of biscuits and honey.  The flavor and texture was unbelievable and it turned out to be my favorite treat of the day.
Ready to move from the pastries on to the ‘hard stuff’, I sipped on a glass of cold water to cleanse my taste buds before the next adventure. The collection of chocolate is the new summer offering from Maison, and they are each little pieces of art with tastes as exquisite as their designs. The first was Etzia, a creamy milk chocolate ganache with a hint of 2 honeys, one which was floral and the other which was from chestnuts. What a unique flavor this combination was, I thought about having a second piece, but alas there was still so much more to save room for. I moved on to the Txokolate Iluna (what a lovely name) which was a dark chocolate with a hint of smokiness. Next was the praline macaron which was smooth with almonds and the slightly crisp bits of macaron inside. I loved the texture of this one, and thought it was quite different than the smoothness of the others. My favorite piece was the Almond paste with Patxaran. A mouthwatering dark chocolate with almond paste inside. Totally and completely delicious. This is the one that I will most likely return for, a crave-able flavor for sure. Last was the Espeletako Piperra, a dark chocolate with two different kinds of pepper. I found the pepper to be extremely subtle, and had to wait for it in the aftertaste as it was not immediately noticeable. The chili pepper pattern on top was a delightful touch.
I thought it was really charming that the next step, as my host explained, was the palette cleanser: a quintet of ice creams and sorbets to finish the day. They were presented in icy shot glasses, each with their own little perfectly fitting lid. Having been in to try the fantastic chocolate sorbet on a prior occasion, I decided to start with the caramel ice cream. Creamy, smooth, rich and complex, this flavor is perfect on it’s own- no need to follow the trend of adding salt like so many restaurants are hip on doing these days. The pistachio was outstanding and I must add it to my list of favorite foods. No fake, chemically green color here, oh no. This pistachio ice cream has way too much class and integrity for shenanigans like that. Both the strawberry and raspberry sorbets are light, refreshing, and truly did work as a perfect end to a delightfully rich afternoon. It’s very hard to find anything less than perfect about this ‘meal’ although I did find the fruit sorbets slightly too sweet for my own preferences. Then again, maybe that was just because I was in complete state of sugar overload at that point and anything aside from water might have been one step too far.
As I said my goodbyes, I was handed a gift bag and was thrilled to find a couple of truffles and two more the best macarons ever inside. Oh, I am a lucky girl indeed.
 All in all, La Maison is a true treasure and I am incredibly flattered that my blog allowed me to take part in this event. My hobby has come full circle at this point, turning something that I started just for fun into a truly valuable passion. I think the famous saying can now be changed to “Do what you love and the chocolate will follow.”  To me, chocolate of this caliber is worth far more than it’s weight in gold.

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