There's nothing more cozy than cuddling up on the sofa with a book and a box of chocolates on a chilly Winter day. And it seems I'm not alone in my love of pairing chocolates with a good read. For Valentine's Day this year one of my favorite chocolatiers Richart has combined a big box of chocolates with a book of short stories, from an award-winning writer Simon Von Booy. Even better, there are twelve specific chocolates that pair with passages from the book! The gift is called Love begins in Winter ($75), after the name of the book.
I haven't experienced any of the lovely pairings yet, but I spoke with Benjamin Auzimour in charge of Richart in North America, and he shared one of his favorites:
"Here's an extract that I like, about happiness, to be read while tasting a Petit Richart filled with salted butter caramel coulis, which will enhance the warmth of the feelings created by the scene.
We can sense Simon's precise, concise, although almost impressionist style"
"when it started to get dark, Hannah and I left the shop. Bicycles were being wheeled home in the snow. Old women left bricks of cake on one another's doorsteps. The butcher was dressed up like Santa Claus.
Children peered out into the night from upstairs windows. And for several kilometers Hannah and I waded through snowy fields, past old gates and fallen tress, laughing and calling out as our bodies disappeared from view.
The shadows remained.
Gifts from the fallen, not lessening our happiness but guiding it, deepening it, and filling us with the passion we would need to sustain our love in the coming days."
If you don't know Richart chocolates, I highly recommend you try them. Richart not only makes some of the creamiest confections thanks to their intense conching process, but also takes a very thoughtful approach to chocolate called QuintesSense:
1. Knowledge of what you're tasting - background, origins, geography...
2. Sensory analysis
3. "Emotional" analysis - memories, feelings...
4. Finding the overall flavor of this very moment
5. Sharing it with others
They use Venezuelan criollo cocoa beans and make delicate confections using a wide variety of flavors, some that might seem unusual like flowers and herbs but always achieve balance and pure perfection, as far as I'm concerned.