5.28.2014

The Chocolate Line

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On a recent trip to Belgium, the hubby had the privilege of visiting the The Chocolate Line.  The Chocolate Line, which is owned by master chocolatier Dominique Persoone, is one of only three chocolate shops listed in the Michelin Guide.
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The Chocolate Line features a variety of chocolates that can be purchased by weight and dozens of handcrafted pralines.  The hubby was so impressed that he decided to bring a mountain of chocolate home in his suitcase.  Lucky us.


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I thought the packaging was beautiful.


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The box contained two of every praline that was available in the Antwerp store.  The chocolates had shifted a little during shipping but they were still lovely nonetheless.


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Persoone is a rock star in the chocolate world.  He masterfully combines a wide variety of ingredients with chocolate to create something really special.  His pralines are flavored with wonderful things like curry, lime, wasabi, fried onions, lavender and cabernet-sauvignon, to name a few.  

Below is just a sampling…


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Arthur:  Light hazelnut praline feuilletine (crispy sweet crepe) pieces.  

While incredibly simple, this praline was one of my favorites.  The perfectly toasted hazelnut, rich chocolate and crunch was truly spectacular.


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Apple:  Caramel apple, balsamic vinegar and praline with 'Granny Smith.'

Believe me when I tell you that this is not your typical apple-flavored confection.  The rich caramel, tangy vinegar and tart apple blend beautifully with the chocolate.


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Asian Confetti:  Caramel with rice vinegar and soy sauce, praline sesame seeds, 
Sansho pepper and popping candy.  

This praline was such a refreshing surprise.  As the chocolates began to melt, my mouth was hit with the sweet of the caramel, the saltiness of the soy sauce, the crunch of the sesame seeds, heat of the chili and, at the end, the fizz of the popping candy.


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Havana:  ganache flavored with a distillate Havana leaves.

The Havana was rich and creamy with earthy undertones.  Delicious.


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Samba:  Milk chocolate ganache of samba tea with jelly of Morelle-cherry.

I must admit that cherry flavored chocolate is not usually my thing but the Samba was like nothing I had ever tasted before.  The dark chocolate and tart cherry were magnificent.


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Italiaanse Javanais:  White chocolate ganache with fresh basil, marzipan with sun-dried tomato and black olives.

This praline just might have been the most interesting in the bunch.  The chocolate was the perfect accompaniment to the bold flavors of the basil, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.


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In addition to all of the wonderful pralines, the hubby returned home with a variety of handcrafted chocolate from The Chocolate Line.  The chocolates are made from beans that Persoone grows and roasts himself.


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The chocolates contains anywhere from 38 to 89 percent cacao.  The lower the percentage, the lighter and milkier the chocolate; the higher the percentage, the darker and richer the chocolate. Each one is distinctly different and delicious.  

It's not often that I get the opportunity to bake using some of the finest chocolate in the world.  I am trying to use them sparingly so they last until my hubby returns to Belgium.  The best chocolates in America pale by comparison.  

If you ever find yourself in Antwerp, Belgium, make sure you visit The Chocolate Line.  You won't be disappointed.

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