Saturday, 22 January 2011

Maison Sweet Maison

Last week I had an urge to gallivant (a skill that I am known to have mastered from a very young age) and headed down to London's famous Oxford Street.  After a few hours of browsing I felt I needed a little hit of sugar and headed for one of my much loved department stores - Selfridges.
I'm often found in one of three particular departments - 'Beauty' (which entices you with the likes of products from Shu Uemura, Giorgio Armani, Trish McEvoy and more), 'Womens Street Fashion' or Stationery / Confectionery.

I headed straight for the latter as I was yearning for a taste of some good quality chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, I wont say no to a stick of Kit Kat or a bit of a Twix fix once in a while but there really is nothing like good quality chocolate and seeing as  La Maison du Chocolat had just opened up a  counter stocked full of decadent treats, the temptation was just too much to resist!

There was so much to choose from and I couldn't decide.  The expert behind the counter must have noticed my indecisiveness and offered his assistance which was greatly appreciated.  I told him I longed for something different as I tend to sway towards a milk chocolate ganache or dark chocolate pralines.

"Garrigue".  He replied confidently.  "Ganache infused with Fennel.  It is one of my personal favourites."  Now I'm not really a fan of the vegetable but I was guaranteed I would be pleasantly surprised.  And pleasantly surprised I was.  It was absolutely divine!!  The texture was as smooth as silk and the taste?  It was heavenly.  The fennel infused with the creamy ganache was a perfect marriage.  Not too overpowering but subtle enough to detect.  
I was hooked and decided to make a purchase.  I decided upon 'Garrigue', 'Cannelle' - Indonesian cinnamon matched with a robust Sri Lankan Cocoa, 'Yoko' - ganache flavoured with Black Tea, 'Quito' - a plain bittersweet ganache and 'Micaela' - a milk chocolate mousse infused with rich coffee.  Two of each to share with my beloved Grande Soeur.  The assistant placed each chocolate into a cellophane bag with a pair of bamboo tongs and sealed it with a signature sticky ribbon.  Anybody who knows me, knows I love, love, LOVE ribbons so by the time my purchase was complete, I felt like I was walking on air.

When Grande Soeur tried the Garrigue ganache she too was pleasantly surprised but told me she felt the fennel infusion was a little too subtle but delicious nonetheless.  Grande Soeur has always had a real love for cinnamon so I knew Cannelle would be her favourite out of all the flavours.

I have since, recommended La Maison Du Chocolat to those who have a similar appreciation for good quality chocolates but even if you haven't ever experienced the likes of this chocolatier, I strongly suggest you try one.  They don't come cheap but you get what you pay for in my opinion and they sell their chocolates by weight so you can buy as little or as much as your heart desires.  The assistants  are very professional and a great help if you simply cannot decide what to try.
 There are four stores within London, details of which can be found on the La Maison Du Chocolat but they also have an online boutique so you really have no excuse.