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Food of the Gods

Since the Days of the Aztecs, No Food Has Incited More Passion than Chocolate
Sam Gugino
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 1)

The "smoke" determined to be the best was made by Brooklyn chocolatier Alexandra & Nicholay. Its perfecto-shaped dark chocolate cigar scored a 95. An Armagnac-dipped chocolate cigar made by La Maison du Chocolat received a 91. Two cigars, a dark chocolate cigarillo and a dark chocolate, whiskey-flavored panetela-like cigar, created by New York-based German expatriate Otrud Carstens, scored 93 and 90, respectively. Six cigars scored in the mid- to upper-80s, with one scoring a 70 and another not receiving a score because it did not resemble a cigar at all.

Given the results of the tasting, one can conclude that there is something for everyone. For the serious chocolate connoisseur, who is used to deeper, richer flavors, the choices are many. If any chocolate will do, there are plenty of options as well. Some of the cigars come in dark chocolate and milk chocolate varieties. Whatever the preference, chocolate manufacturers have created a product that cigar smokers can enjoy anytime and anywhere, without offending fellow diners or significant others. --Shandana Durrani

ALEXANDRA & NICHOLAY
2270 A 65th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11204 Phone (718)234-7982
Dark Chocolate Cigar 95
A perfecto-shaped cigar with a fabulous texture that delivers a bittersweet, dark chocolate flavor. $1.00

CHOCOLATES FOR THE CONNOISSEUR
by Otrud Carstens. Available at Dean & Deluca stores
Grand Cru Cigarillo 93
A uniquely shaped, elegant and well-made cigar with a smooth and rich bittersweet flavor. $1.25

LA MAISON DU CHOCOLAT
25 East 73rd Street, New York, New York 10021 Phone (212)744-7117
Dark Chocolate Cigar 91
A nice-looking dusted cigar with bittersweet highlights and a milky, creamy tex-ture with a rich Armagnac flavor. $3.95

CHOCOLATES FOR THE CONNOISSEUR
by Otrud Carstens Available at Dean & Deluca stores
Single Malt Scotch Whiskey Cigar 90
A smooth, flat-sided dark chocolate cigar with a rich and smooth flavor and strong whiskey notes. $5.00

CHOCOLATES A LA CARTE
13190 Telfair Avenue, Sylmar, California 91342 Phone (818)364-6777
Chocolate Cigar 89
An equal-parts bitter and sweet chocolate cigar with a white chocolate band. It has sweet citrus hints and a great finish. $29.95/box of five

HEARTS & FLOWERS CANDIES
128 Charlotte Avenue, Hicksville, New York 11801 Phone (516)931-2155
Havana Coco Grande Cigar 89
A caramel-colored, large cigar with a creamy, standard milk chocolate taste and a heavy finish. $20/box of five (plus shipping and handling)

GODIVA
Phone (800)9GODIVA
Milk Chocolate Cigar 88
A heavy, solid cellophane-wrapped cigar with a creamy and dense milk chocolate flavor. $2.50

KRÖN CHOCOLATIER
Five Bond Street, Great Neck, New York 11021 Phone (516)829-5550
Petit Kröna 88
A flat-sided perfecto-shaped cigar with a deep dark chocolate flavor and a bittersweet finish. $13.50/crate of four

BOEHM CANDIES INC.
Edelweiss Chalet, Issaquah, Washington 98027 Phone (888)643-9050
Romeo and Juliet Chocolate Cigar 86
A dense dark chocolate cigar with a light, bittersweet flavor and a beautiful shape and texture. $1.99

LAKE CHAMPLAIN CHOCOLATES
431 Pine Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401 Phone (800)634-8105
Cocoabano Chocolate Cigar 85
A soft, almost crumbly cigar with a grainy texture and almost cake-like taste and a short finish. $2.50

GRAND CHOCOLATE PIZZA INC.
400 South Beverly Drive, # 214, Beverly Hills, California 90212 Phone (800)475-RSVP
Grand Chocolate Cigar 82
A heavy cigar with a very milky chocolate flavor and a good, long finish. $38.00/box of six

MADELAINE CHOCOLATE NOVELTIES INC.
Rockaway Beach, New York 11693 Phone (718)945-1500
Milk Chocolate Cigar 80
The standard milk chocolate cigar with a light body and sweet milk chocolate flavor and a fairly short finish. $0.60

CHOCOLATES FOR THE CONNOISSEUR
by Otrud Carstens Available at Dean & Deluca stores
Ginger Cigar 70
A nice-looking cigar with an overpowering ginger flavor that mars this otherwise fine chocolate. $5.00

FRAN'S CHOCOLATES LTD.
1300 East Pike Street, Seattle, Washington 98122 Phone (800)422-FRAN
Fran's Fixations No score
This box-pressed flavored "cigar" did not receive a score because it didn't resemble a cigar. Its three flavors of peanut butter, mint and orange complemented a smooth and mild chocolate flavor. $0.85

COCOA CARE

How do you go about buying the best chocolate? Go to the people who specialize in high-grade chocolate and have a high product turnover. If they also sell lingerie or lottery tickets, go elsewhere. * For chocolate authority Alice Medrich, as well as chocolatier Alex Yezril at La Maison du Chocolate, freshness is key. "We recommend that our chocolates be consumed within 15 days," Yezril says. Chocolate confections such as chocolate truffles, which contain cream, should be consumed within a week, Medrich adds. Yezril doesn't like to refrigerate chocolates. Instead, he keeps his shop temperature between 45 and 60 degrees. Chocolate should be tightly wrapped as well, he adds: "Air is the enemy of chocolate." * If you need to store chocolate for a long period, freeze it. But keep it wrapped, even during defrosting, to minimize the amount of moisture that forms on the chocolate. When moisture collects, it causes what's called a sugar bloom, leaving a white or rough film on the chocolate. Another adverse effect is fat bloom, which occurs when chocolate gets too warm, creating gray-white streaks and blotches. --SG


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