At the end of Chocolate & Zucchini’s birthday party last week, after all the guests had left in a whirlwind of kisses and effusive thanks and well wishes, the dust settled and it was just Nicolas, Maxence and me, collapsing into chairs, exhausted but beaming.
Nicolas, who hadn’t eaten all night from all that cooking, brought out a loaf of bread and a small round of demi-sec goat cheese, bought the previous Saturday at the organic Marché des Batignolles, from a tiny purveyor whose cheese is so fabulous she should be awarded the Legion d’Honneur. We indulged in one of those delicious late-night mini-picnics — funny how good cheese tastes at two in the morning — while we debriefed, threw ideas around for possible future events, and generally basked in the post-party happy mood.
And then, as we were gathering our things to go home, Nicolas said, “Oh, I didn’t even get your blog a present!”. He rummaged in two cardboard boxes nearby, brought out two bricks of chocolat de couverture, and handed them to me. Chocolat de couverture is the special type of chocolate that pâtissiers and chocolate makers use for their confections. It is made without any starch, to ensure perfect melting and a tip-top finish, shiny and smooth.
Each of these packages contains in fact five chocolate bars of 200g each, beautiful and richly dark. One package is of the Madong variety (from New-Guinea), while the other is called Tanao (origin unknown to me) — so far I have just tasted the latter, breaking up a little chunk, velvety and aromatic, to enjoy with my coffee. They come from a chocolate maker named “Chocolaterie de l’Opéra”, which was founded in 1850. They cater to professionals only and are renowned for the quality of their chocolate, which they make themselves from their own beans.
I don’t remember ever having that much chocolate (and what chocolate!) in my possession at any given time, and well, it feels fantastic! I thanked Nicolas profusely, clutching my two ingots of 70% gold, dreams of chocolate desserts bubbling up in my mind.