Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Last April, I was invited by Lauren Fricchione of Dossier Brand for a Media Industry Night at Madame Chocolate in Beverly Hills for a fun evening of chocolate and wine. This is actually my second visit to Madame Chocolate, but it was more of a short drop-in as opposed to a longer stay. Walking in, I could tell that this sweet shop was ready for Easter. One way to tell for sure was the 3 foot chocolate bunny waiting in the kitchen to be decorated.
There were beautifully decorated eggs hanging from a crystal chandelier, colorful Easter baskets filled with treats and Easter themed candies abound on tables and shelves.
Along with all the Easter happenings, plenty of chocolatier, Hasty Torres' chocolates were on display, some of which were going to be paired with wine a little later on in the evening.
While waiting for other people to arrive, I was able to sample a couple of her chocolates ahead of time. One was a peanut butter bon bon in the shape of a ladybug while the other was a passionfruit bon bon. Hands down, that passionfruit bon bon was my favorite, even after sampling more chocolates by the end of the night. After a bit, Hasty came out to give some information about her culinary history and her inspiration for Madame Chocolate. You can read more about Hasty by clicking here.
She also talked about the tools of her trade, which included a Chocolate Tumbler. The chocolate tumbler is where she puts certain foods to be coated by chocolate like her chocolate covered cheerios, which are addicting by the way. We also got up and close and personal with her dark chocolate and milk chocolate tempering machines. Watching those tempering wheels turning round and round was a bit mesmerizing. I think some of us would have been happy to dive in, if it wasn't for the fact that no one would have fit.
Finally, we all settled in the kitchen, sitting at the tables for the rest of the evening where we were treated to a chocolate and wine pairing. To tell you the truth, I was more focused on the chocolate itself than how each individual wine went with each chocolate. For the most part, I remembered that of the 5 pairings, one wasn't my cup of tea.
The five chocolates we sampled included: Belgian White Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Caramel, Mendiant and Cocoa Dusted Chocolate Truffle. The Chocolate Caramel Heart almost stole my heart away, but I was still loyal to the Passionfruit Bon Bon.
Overall, it was a fun evening getting to know Hasty and enjoying her delicious chocolates. What was even nicer is that we left with a goodie bag of those addicting chocolate-covered cheerios I mentioned earlier along with other sweet treats. I was so impressed with Hasty, her shop and her chocolates that I actually set up a Chocolate Tasting with her for my dining group, a month later. This time around, Hasty was ready for spring. Check out the butterflies on the chandeliers that were evident when I walked in. By the way, Hasty mentioned that her Mom does all the decorating in the shop.
Like my last visit, Hasty also gave an overview of her background and information of how she started Madame Chocalat. During her talk, we were all enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, made by dipping either a milk chocolate or dark chocolate spoon into a cup of steamed milk and mixing it all up. I think some of us ended up licking the spoon as it melted more than anything else.
She also gave a talk about how chocolate was made and even brought out a whole cacao bean that was dry but gave us an idea of what one would look like. We even got to sample some of the cacao nibs which I found a bit too bitter for my taste.
Then of course, there's the beautiful chocolates on display. Some of them were the same from my last visit, but there were also a few new contenders, but all looked scrumptious.
My favorite was still the Passionfruit Bon Bon, but other tasty options included bons bons flavored with citron, orange juice and liquid caramel and rum. It was also my first time trying the Espresso Bon Bon shaped like a coffee cup. Orange juice and espresso bon bons actually brought breakfast to mind. It could be a breakfast trio if Hasty came up with some kind of maple bon bon to represent pancakes and at a media event we both attended, Christy of Pardon My Crumbs suggested a dark chocolate bacon bon bon. Wow! Now that's a breakfast I could stand behind. All I have to say is that if Hasty goes for it, Christy and I expect royalty fees or at least, as much chocolate as we can eat.
Something else that was prevalent throughout the shop and what definitely caught the attention of the ladies in the group were the Designer Solid Chocolate Heels that came in a gift pack that included chocolate sunglasses and a chocolate purse and were on a chocolate base. They looked amazing.
Hasty also gave my group a kitchen tour and was happy to answer questions. She even told us how to temper chocolate even if we didn't have a tempering machine of our own. In the kitchen, we also got to try her chocolate covered marshmallows and rice krispies. Don't get me wrong. They were good, but what I would have done for a whole bag of chocolate covered cheerios.
Towards the back of her kitchen were even more of those designer chocolate heels, including a pair for one of the new "Housewives" of Beverly Hills, in all its pink glory.
This was definitely a fun evening, made even more so by Hasty, a charming hostess, who was very generous and willing to answer any and all of our questions when it came to chocolate. It's easy to see why she was cast to be one of the judges on TLC's Chocolate Wars. So far, there's only been one episode, but hopefully, there will be more because from what I saw, Hasty was really fun to watch. So the next time you're in Beverly Hills, be sure to stop by Madame Chocolat for bon bons sure to impress and make your tastebuds happy.
212 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210-5302