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Chocolat Durand 2015 Packaging

Chocolat Durand’s Coffret Bretagne and Formaggio Kitchen’s Choice 16-piece and 32-piece assortments. Packaging varies between shipments, but Valentine’s Day usually sees red ribbon!

A familiar name to many French chocolate lovers, Durand has been renowned for their delicate truffles since the 1980s, when this little patisserie began infusing their chocolates with herbs and spices for the 1987 Christmas season. A few years later, Formaggio Kitchen owners (and husband and wife) Ihsan and Valerie discovered these chocolates on a trip to Provence, and we’ve been smitten ever since.

Roughly four times a year (for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day) we receive a shipment of 16- and 32-piece boxes of Durand truffles. Phenomenally thin and delicate, these truffles are often snapped up fast by those who know to look for them (including a few staff members!). They make great gifts for the chocolate lovers in your life, and we think they taste sweetest shared.

Alas, as with all love stories, this one has had it’s ups and down. In fact, there have always been two Durands — Joël Durand and his wife Brigitte Roussel. Together they pioneered the infusions that make these truffles what they are, but unlike our love of Durand chocolates, the love between the Durands did not last. After their divorce they agreed to share the family name, with a twist: Joël maintained the tradition of labeling his creations with letters of the alphabet, while Brigitte got the numbers.

Today we source les chocolats numérotés from Maître Chocolatier Brigitte Roussel, based in her native Brittany. Our boxes feature a unique selection of Ihsan and Valerie’s hand-selected favorites from Brigitte’s many varieties of 64% cacao chocolate confections. We’re excited to also offer Brigitte’s unique Brittany Box (Coffrets Bretagne), which features 16 flavors classic to the culinary history of Brittany: fleur de sel, buckwheat honey and saffron, Brittany algae, wild anise of the seaside, coffee and lambic, East Indian spices, hazelnut and crushed Brittany crêpe, and salted butter caramel.

Each box includes a flavor guide, to help you identify the contents of each numbered tile. Our favorite way to savor these boxes is with friends, family or a special someone, taking turns with either the box or the guide, blind-tasting a chocolate and guessing the flavors infused!

 

Formaggio Kitchen Chocolats Durand 16-piece Assortment:

Palet d’Or (dark chocolate truffle topped with edible gold leaf); orange; Earl Grey; pistachio; lavender; absinthe; caramel; vanilla; almond praline; pepper; raspberry; rosemary; basil lemon; Guyana (milk chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest); Yucatan (dark chocolate, piment d’Espelette, Corsican honey); and a single origin dark chocolate

Brigitte Roussel’s 32 Flavors:
Palet d’Or (dark chocolate truffle topped with edible gold leaf); orange; black coffee; milk coffee; Earl Grey; cinnamon; jasmine; pistachio; fresh mint; lavender; Guyana (milk chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon zest); licorice; absinthe; caramel; Lebanon (dark chocolate, cardamom, coffee); vanilla; hazelnut praline; dill; Yucatan (dark chocolate, piment d’Espelette, Corsican honey); thyme; Irish Coffee; clove and lemon; pepper; raspberry; elderflower blossom; basil and lemon; Vietnam (dark chocolate, fresh ginger and citronella); Madagascar (single origin Madagascar dark chocolate with cacao nibs); verbena; and Tonka nut.

 

Rob Campbell is a culinary adventurer, world traveler, science geek, and also the blog manager at Formaggio Kitchen Cambridge.

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Saint-Amour Cote de Besset

Château des Rontets Saint-Amour Côte de Besset, from Fabio Montrasi and Claire Gazeau.

As the holiday dedicated to love and lovers approaches, Saint-Amour, the northernmost Beaujolais Cru, attracts some attention that it perhaps does not receive at other times of year, for obvious reasons; however, Château des Rontets Saint-Amour Côte de Besset is a bit of a love story in its own right.

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Domaine de Vaccelli Cuvée Roger 2009 with Meadowood Farm Lamb Chops and Red Fire Farm Brussels Sprouts.

Domaine de Vaccelli Cuvée Roger 2009
with Meadowood Farm Lamb Chops and Red Fire Farm Brussels Sprouts.

France’s Île de Beauté (Island of Beauty) lies one hundred miles south of France’s Côte-d’Azur and just over fifty miles west of Tuscany. This wildly majestic island enjoys some of the hottest, driest conditions in all of France (it holds the record for the most annual sunshine), and is where the Greeks first cultivated vines back in the 6th Century BCE. Despite this long history of production, it was not until the 1960s, when a horde of skilled wine-makers fled Algeria (the so-called French pieds noirs) for Corsica, that it became known for wines of quality of distinction.

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Clos de l'Origins Soif de Plaisir 2011

Clot de l’Origins Soif de Plaisir 2011

Southwest of the Languedoc lies Roussillon, a region that has too often been reduced to mere suffix. Roussillon stretches from the river Aude in the north to the border of Catalonia in the South. In the West, the snow-capped Pyrenées rise above 2500m in places, with the jagged peaks of Pic du Canigou at 2,786m (9.140ft) above sea level. A sharp descent eastward brings you to back to the stifling heat of the Mediterranean coastline, where Vin Doux Naturels reign supreme. Roussillon is primarily known for these wines, which are made from partially-fermented grape juice that is fortified with alcohol before it fully becomes wine. Made from the most common regional varietal, Grenache (whether is be Noir, Gris, or Blanc) , these aperitif “wines” benefit from early ripening fruit in some of the hottest, driest vineyards in all of France. Overall Roussillon produces 90% of all French Vin Doux Naturel, the most famous of which is Banyuls, made in the southeasternmost corner of the region. In Banyuls-sur-Mer, Grenache grapes are grown on steeply-terraced schist slopes, allowed to shrivel on the vine, fermented, fortified, and aged in barrel for years at a time at which point they can achieve a depth comparable to vintage port.

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Pascal Pibaleau Rosé

Pascal Pibaleau Rosé

Close to the town of Tours in the heart of the Loire Valley, Domaine Pibaleau sits nestled between two of the region’s historic Châteaux: Azay-le-Rideau and Langeais. The 12 hectare Domaine Pibaleau has been family owned and operated since 1886. Here Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Grolleau are grown on organically farmed sandy-clay soil near the banks of the river L’Indre. Domaine Pibaleau has organic certification, and they work according to biodynamic principles.

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Gruyère Alpage

Gruyère Alpage

We knew it would be a fast trip, and the time spent waiting for our flight in the Newark airport did not make it any easier. Switzerland was calling and we could not have been any more prepared (and less ready) for what we were going to experience.

We landed in Geneva and made haste to the Jura region of France for a brief stop at Marcel Petite’s famed aging rooms at Fort Sant Antoine. As always, visiting Claude and the crew to taste and pick our wheels of Comté was a resounding success. The Comté offered to us was as spectacular as ever and we were introduced to new fruitières* with all new flavor profiles. This means in a few months, our customers will also be introduced to these new flavors. Exciting, but I digress…

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Reuilly Rosé perfect for summer sipping!Reuilly is a wine growing appellation in the eastern Loire Valley, not far from Sancerre. The three main grapes grown there are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and a tiny amount of Pinot Gris (also known as Pinot Grigio). Pinot Gris is a sub-clone of Pinot Noir that has a very pale, blueish-grey skin. Much of the soil in Reuilly consists of Kimmeridgian marl, a type of limestone perfect for the production of aromatic, delicate wines.

Domaine de Reuilly is a 17 hectare organic estate in the heart of this commune. Denis Jamain’s grandfather first planted vines here in 1935, when he also purchased a small parcel in the local forest. Denis has been managing the estate since 1990 and has the luck of being able to select oak trees from his grandfather’s forest to be made into barrels for aging his own wines! (more…)

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