The Artisan/Michel Richart:
Michel Richart grew up in an ambiance of fine chocolates. His father, who was a chocolatier himself, was delighted that his son, Michel, was enthusiastic to learn, to listen and absorb. While he was learning to master the art of creating the finest chocolates possible while using the highest quality raw materials, he also became conscious about the importance of creating recipes that are well balanced, harmonious and pleasing to the palate. Even today, he continuous to strive to perfect his art and thanks to his “tasting group” (who are actually members of his family), that taste and comment on everything that he creates, including pastry, chocolates and wines, he is succeeding. Michel is an admitted chocoholic, with a remarkable imagination that assist him in constantly creating new products to please his “friends” (he considers his customers to be his best friends). Basically, he is delighted that through his masterful creations he is able to bring joy to people’s life .
Richart’s little gems-of-chocolates are much more assertive than you would assume, based on their playful and seductive appearance. The complex and intense ganache of each chocolate is as silky as Sophia Loren’s hair, and the flavors are as unpredictable as a teenager in love; but never disappointing. It is well known that girls’ second best friend is chocolate, but not just any; only a handful of chocolatiers can claim the status of delivering the quality that meet their requirements and Richart is the leader of this group.
Richart decided to remove any extraneous ingredients from his products (even if it is a great product, like cocoa butter), because he wants his “friends” to enjoy only the purest and the most sensual elements of his creations – the chocolate. Quite brilliant, I would say. As a result, we can lose ourselves in these heavenly work of art – guilt-free.
Richart’s Petit Collection contains 49 unique masterpieces with seven distinct aromas:
We could not obtain the entire collection, therefore, had to make our selection based on personal appeal. We tasted the balsamics, the fruit group, the herbals and the spicy ones.
The flavors in the aromatic Balsamic group are enfolded in their Venezuelan Criollo dark chocolate shell, but as soon as they hit our palates they managed to free themselves and we could actually feel the melting process with the lingering mouth-feel of the domineering Criollo. I cannot adequately describe this experience – you must try these yourselves.
The Fruit group is just amazing. The chocolates are light and refreshing, yet rich and retain the depth of the dark chocolate shell. None of the fruits upstaged the intense dark chocolate cover, yet the perfume of the fruit is a great carrier of the silky-smooth buttery cream. While indulging in the fruit group we felt as we were transported to tropical islands to taste some passion fruit, than hopped over to California for some strawberries and concluded our trip in Turkey with wonderful apricots.
In the spiced group I enjoyed the ones with cinnamon and/or ginger. I am positive that it contains cinnamon from Ceylon, because only that one can create such a great marriage with dark chocolates. This is the time that I learned that if the cinnamon doesn’t come from Mexico or Sri Lanka (Ceylon), it’s cassia, not cinnamon. The cinnamon worked so well with the base chocolate in this one that I savored each bite as long I could, letting it melt in my mouth slowly but explosively. It wasn’t overpowering but certainly didn’t taste like the cinnamon we tend to encounter in our food.
Both, the Herbal and the Spiced varieties are sensuous, mysterious and provocative. Most of the ganaches of Richart are mind-altering in a good way. The chocolates stimulate the release of serotonin and endorphins throughout one’s body with the end result of that pleasant, euphoric feeling. I suggest you throw away your Valium, and stock-up with some spiced and herbal petit collection. You will not regret you did. I am convinced, that if for nothing else, then only for the Herbal and Spiced group, Richart should receive the Nobel Prize for creating the most delectable chocolates with the most noble ingredients.
The ganache with the highly aromatic and sweet tasting anise is certainly a challenging one on your palate. If this is the first time you are tasting this combination you need to let it melt very slowly in your mouth in order to appreciate the feel of the chocolate and the ambiance it creates in your mouth (yes, you read it correctly; I said ambiance, because that is what this chocolate creates). Simultaneously, you should hold another chocolate with the anise that was cut open and inhale the sweet aromas. The experience will be a lift-up to highs you never knew before and “love at first bite” for eternity. The Jasmine Tea ganache is self-explanatory – Jasmine tea is actually Oolong tea from China, infused with the the night-blooming jasmine flowers; so that said it all. It provides a highly aromatic scent to the ganache and a mild floral aroma to our senses. The combination is delightfully refreshing.
As I said above, Richart creates special seasonal and holiday collections throughout the year. In this holiday season he created, what appears to two amazing collections: CHOCOMAC and WINTER JUBILEE TANDEM Chocolates. These chocolates come with an unusual guide [(he calls it the Wheel of Pleasure (I love the name) who does not want to experience the wheels of pleasure? )] to provide you with as much information as possible about the creation of these chocolates and what kind of experience you should have while indulging. And the naming of these chocolates? You can blush just by reading the names and the description of the specific chocolate. From Sweet Flames that contains hazelnut, cream from Bresse, grilled red quinoa from Peru, sea salt flower from Guerande to Caressing Spices with hazelnuts, baked sweet caramel, grains of coriander, star anise, and lemon aroma all enrobed with dark chocolate from Venezuela (WOW!). The pleasure is awaiting for you in New York City, in Barcelona, in Milan, in Paris, in Lyon, and more …….Unfortunately we cannot report about these chocolates’ taste and feel, since we did not had an opportunity to buy them and put them through our savant palate. Please keep coming back; we are positive we will have the scoop before Valentine’s Day. And what a report that will be.
In conclusion, Richart is a master of creating the most unique combination of ingredients, where they all complement the chocolate. One cannot go wrong with chocolates that contain the most amazing, innovative ganache enrobed with dark Venezuelan Criollo chocolates created by a maestro.
Where to buy it
Well, first I have mentioned in the post the cities around the world where you’ll find Richart’s chocolate shops. I myself visited the stores located in New York City (7 East, 55th Street) and in Boston (Copley Place) many times. You can also order all of Richart’s gourmet chocolates online