If you are looking for culinary cred with your bonbons, Master Chocolatier Jean-Marie Auboine has it in abundance. His curriculum vitae includes Alain Ducasse’s famous restaurant Le Louis XV where he assisted in earning them Michelin’s highest honor: three stars. Chef Auboine continued his distinguished career at several other Michelin-starred restaurants which included Chateau de Mercues in France, Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva, and La Pyramide Vienne in France.
So, it was not a shock to find Jean-Marie’s confections sublime in their purity, packaging, and, most importantly, gustatory appeal.
Two of his newer confections are called Chocolate Fingers. These dark chocolate enrobed ganache rectangles, each about four inches long, are supremely delicious. The mint variety was redolent of fresh mint, while the banana nutmeg with crunchy bits under its couverture, was like a chocolate meditation. In my experience, banana can be a very tricky flavor because of its inherent sweetness. Here, however, the nutmeg added complexity and piquancy to the fruit’s richness. A truly memorable experience.
Next, I sampled the assortment of boxed chocolates, each in a perfectly tempered thin chocolate carapace.
Torroncino Praliné, adorned with a micro dot of pale yellow fondant on its almost black shell, was a delicately crunchy delight.
The Raspberry & Jasmin Tea’s flavors were seamlessly balanced, with the fruit’s acidity playing off the tea’s fruity edge.
Organic Vanilla, also enrobed in dark chocolate, was a purist’s dream in a super dark ganache.
Unique and immensely satisfying, the Coffee and Mascarpone Cream had two layers of filling. With its contrasting colors, slightly different textures of ganache and cream, and faint cheese undertones, it was a decadent surprise.
The sweetest and most subtle morsel in this group was the Accacia Honey dark chocolate ganache in a milk chocolate couverture.
Kalamansi Jelly and Earl Grey Tea Ganache was another layered affair, perfectly chewy, yet melt-in-your-mouth jelly played against a velvety dark ganache.
(Kalamansi Jelly is made with a fruit called Calamondin or Calamansi, native to the Philippine Islands. It is also known as the calamondin, golden lime, panama orange, chinese orange, acid orange, calamonding, or calamandarin in English. It is believed to originate from China and has spread throughout Southeast Asia, India, Hawaii, the West Indies, Central and North America. The plant is characterized by wing-like appendages on the leaf stalks and white or purplish flowers. Its fruit has either a spongy or leathery rind with a juicy pulp that is divided into sections.The fruit is available year round in the Philippines and is usually seen in its unripened dark green state, but if left to ripen it turns a tangerine orange color. Calamansi is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.)
The Dark Chocolate Double Sea Salt Caramels were unlike anything I have ever had. A chocolate caramel square sat on top of a buttery one, both bathed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. The texture was a little chewy and a little soft, with just the right amount of sweetness and salty presence. Immensely satisfying.
Blueberry Pearls came in a pretty red box with a window on top revealing red and white spheres with a luminescent sheen. If you love white chocolate and berries, this is for you.
I also tried an adorable slightly free-form Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Teddy Bear, and a cornucopia of other non-chocolate treats including:
Assorted Caramels which contained an absolutely divine Vanilla Hazelnut with large pieces of super crunchy, roasted nuts in a creamy-chewy caramel with smokey undertones.
The Strawberry and Vanilla Marshmallow Bar was a long rectangle of pink and cream colored marshmallow that reminded me of cotton candy with its airy texture and innocent sweetness.
Soft Honey Nougat was studded with candied orange, almonds, hazelnuts and infused with organic honey.
The chocolate covered caramels and ganaches were boxed in lovely brown and orange hard cardboard jewelry-type boxes with magnetic closures, just adding to the elegant Jean-Marie experience.