Christopher Elbow: the classics

Sometimes, I have so many things running around my head that I’m not sure which one to tease out first. In context of this here blog, I have so many notes on delicious, chocolatey things that sometimes it’s hard for me to know which one to talk about first.

In Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter says, “Oh dear. Well start at the beginning and when you get to the end…stop.”

(It also happens to be an email signature of a good friend of mine, so it’s not like I’m always thinking about the Mad Hatter. But hey, I do have high hopes for this movie.)

So, I will begin at the beginning, with Christopher Elbow‘s classic flavours.

Exhibit A: champagne. It’s a milk chocolate-based ganache, which is a good choice – dark chocolate probably would have overpowered the delicate champagne flavour. In fact, “delicate” is an excellent word to describe this confection. There’s a very subtle champagne aroma to the ganache, and it’s like it was constructed by fairies with tiny hands. It’s tastes of delicate, fragrant champagne, and the effect is incredibly elegant. You taste a bit of alcohol, but this is far from boozy. There’s a lovely acidic finish, and – believe it or not – a bubbly sensation just before the flavour dissipates. It’s like champagne, transmogrified into chocolate form.

Exhibit B: raspberry. The description, “raspberry pate de fruit topped with dark chocolate raspberry ganache,” is pretty straightforward. There’s no flowery language, no cutesy name, no marketing buzzwords. And once I tasted it, I understood why.

This chocolate doesn’t need a description. It’s full-frontal raspberry, but in an incredibly refined, elegant way. It’s fruity, bright, clean, and positively juicy. Other chocolatiers make a similar product, but the pate de fruit can be a bit too stiff or gelatinous. Elbow’s pate de fruit is, well, almost al dente. It has a bit of give and texture, but it’s delicate enough to meld seamlessly with the ganache. The ganache itself has a pop of fresh raspberry.

And the most impressive thing with all these chocolates? The finish. These chocolates take you through a very deliberate, well-executed flavour profile…and then they’re gone. The crispness of the finish is really quite remarkable. If you’ve ever been to the symphony (and I hope you have – go once, just for the experience) and have seen the artistry in making all the instruments go quiet at the exact. same. time., then you begin to understand just how deliberate these chocolates are.

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