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Chocolat - coffee: the finest chords

“Death by chocolate»... To die of pleasure while indulging in one’s weakness: this is the temptation to which the café MoZU in Washington, D.C. subjects its clientele. From November 6 to 23 this year, in collaboration with Swiss chocolate maker Max Felchlin, the restaurant of Asian inspiration at the Mandarin Oriental offered a slow – but sweet, and Heavenly – descent into Hades to close the meal with a menu composed of, among others, a chocolate and soymilk milkshake and a chocolate crème brûlée, caramel made with fleur de sel and candied litchis. Remorse and extra pounds…, guilty consciences are quickly spurned in the face of the best chocolates. Aware of the euphoriant affect these childish delicacies have over clientele, hoteliers don’t hesitate to .aunt their chocolate. It is even a sales pitch at the end of this year. So.tel recently launched an exclusive offer for chocoholics at twenty-eight of its hotels worldwide. Available from November 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009, the «I love Chocolate» package includes three nights for the price of two, an all-chocolate tea-time, a chocolate-themed dinner and a “chocolaty surprise” in the room.Valrhona is launching three new products for professionals. A leader in chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, Valrhona has developed its renown around Guanaja. After 5 years of work on the production process, the French chocolate maker is now coming out with Coeur de Guanaja. Lower in fat content – “for technical and not dietary reasons,” explains the Marketing manager Pierre-Edouard Noël - Coeur de Guanaja facilitates the production of ice cream and ganache. With Orizaba, Valrhona wanted to show that mile chocolate is not a Swiss specialty in and of itself. With 39% cocoa, Orizaba adds a strong milky accent to the pungency of cocoa. At the beginning of next year, Valrhona will launch the couverture Caramelia to give a caramel touch to molded chocolates and glazes, particularly for Easter eggs and chickens. Cacao Barry, meanwhile, recently launched its new “Haute Pâtisserie” range, consisting of ten 10 ready to use frozen dessert products, such as Suprême Noir de Noir and Délice Gianduja. The brand Callebaut recently began marketing new crispy flavor enhancers such as Crispearls, shiny dark chocolate mini-pearls with a deliciously crispy cookie center.The French-style luxury brand is neither the first nor the only one to adopt this product. hocolamania is a global phenomenon. For 20 years, the Langham Chocolate Bar in Boston has welcomed a.cionados of cocoa in all its guises every Saturday. In Melbourne, the Langham copied its American cousin. In Singapore, the Fullerton offers a gigantic buffet of pastries made with Valrhona chocolate every night of the week. In Paris, at the Hotel Lancaster (Hospes), chocolate is savored hot at tea-time, together with its shortbread biscuit and flavored with peppermint, orange zest or cinnamon. And then the hotel concept may also be 100% cocoa: at the Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth in the United Kingdom, each room is named after a kind of cocoa. The property offers a total experience with weekends and incentives developed around this theme.In this regard, Las Vegas, the city of sin, could not miss out on this one! Last October, the Bellagio broke records with a gigantic fountain of chocolate created by the head pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury. It took a year and a half to perfect this 8-meter high cascade with its continuous flow of rich hot chocolate. Chocolate has always been worshiped. But in recent years this product made a great leap in terms of quality and this climb has had significant effects on clientele. Customers have progressed from consumer to authentic connoisseur. For gourmets, the great chocolates, the best beans from Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, the Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea hold no more secrets. “They try to understand what makes the chocolate so good. Selling chocolate and its history, explaining its different properties the way one does with wine is new, but signi.cant,” explains Pierre-Edouard Noël, director of Marketing and Communications for Valrhona. In order to meet this demand, professionals such as Valrhona, with Chocolats Grand Crus de Terroirs, and Barry Callebaut, with the Origines et Plantations range, have added products with specific origins alongside their house products. At the beginning of the year, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong organized “weekend connoisseur”. Wine tasting on Saturday organized by The Fine Wine School, chocolate discovery on Sunday orchestrated by Martin Li, the chocolate hotel’s sommelier: this package shows a will to present great chocolates the way great wines are presented. And that, even if chocolate does not have as many of the organoleptic qualities as wine. “The phenomenon is comparable to what happened with tea and coffee,” remarks Pierre-Edouard Noël. Who imagined the existence of white or green tea ten years ago in addition to the classics of Darjeeling and Earl Grey? Who could distinguish the tangy subtlety of blue mountain or the sweetness of Maragogype when coffee was often limited to an Arabica or a Robusta?Coffee menus in restaurants, espresso machines in private homes were also once unheard of. The client has developed an expertise. And knowledge rhymes with demand and explains the rising quality of coffees over the last several years. But today the main argument for the sale of coffee is no longer just its origin but its equitable character. And all suppliers are playing this card… Alongside its premium coffee Carte Noire 100% Arabica, the Jacques Vabre espresso from Kraft Foods is part of corporation’s “coffee for action” effort. This ensures that 100% of the grains have been controlled by Rainforest Alliance, guaranteeing the coffee comes from plantations that use sustainable growing practices. Nestlé has adopted the same sustainable approach with the launch of Nescafé Special Filtre instant coffee certified by UTZ. This certification recognizes responsible coffee producers and offers bean roasters and brands the tools to allow them to respond to a growing demand of a guarantee for responsibly produced coffee.Could a similar trend soon gain the world of chocolate? Undoubtedly. Barry Callebaut launched its Fair Trade accredited organic label. “Some clients want to be able to communicate about sustainable development. We have been working responsibly for many years without certification and in March we will produce two organic Andoa couvertures in black and milk chocolate bearing the Max Havelaar label,” announced Pierre-Edouard Noël.Birds of a feather flock together According to a study by chocolate manufacturer Monbana, 68% of clients are sensitive to the offer of a sweet alongside their coffee. Nonetheless, 40% of restaurant regular customers do not eat them because they grow weary of always tasting the same products. To diversify this offer, Monbana created a méli-mélo box offering a “cocktail of flavors” with a dark Neapolitan 70%, a cocoa powdered almond, a Pralinéa, a Crousti-Neige and a mini-cookie. The «Neapolitan» contains several qualities of chocolates (milk with cereal, dark 70%, dark orange, white lemon...). In the same line of thinking, Kraft Foods launched the classic but qualitative Côte d'Or Neapolitan and a more amusing innovation: the Daim bonbon made of milk chocolate covered caramel.Chocolate: something new for the trade Valrhona is launching three new products for professionals. A leader in chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, Valrhona has developed its renown around Guanaja. After 5 years of work on the production process, the French chocolate maker is now coming out with Coeur de Guanaja. Lower in fat content – “for technical and not dietary reasons,” explains the Marketing manager Pierre-Edouard Noël - Coeur de Guanaja facilitates the production of ice cream and ganache. With Orizaba, Valrhona wanted to show that mile chocolate is not a Swiss specialty in and of itself. With 39% cocoa, Orizaba adds a strong milky accent to the pungency of cocoa. At the beginning of next year, Valrhona will launch the couverture Caramelia to give a caramel touch to molded chocolates and glazes, particularly for Easter eggs and chickens. Cacao Barry, meanwhile, recently launched its new “Haute Pâtisserie” range, consisting of ten 10 ready to use frozen dessert products, such as Suprême Noir de Noir and Délice Gianduja. The brand Callebaut recently began marketing new crispy flavor enhancers such as Crispearls, shiny dark chocolate mini-pearls with a deliciously crispy cookie center.

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