Sunday, March 23, 2014

Monique's Chocolates

Monique's is a chocolate shop located nearby in Palo Alto.  I haven't been there myself, but I recently had the opportunity to try their truffles.  I had never heard of Monique's myself, but a friend was on a quest.  He had a major task at hand: he wanted to come up with a thank you present for our mutual friend Emil.  Now, you've probably heard me mention Emil many times in the past.  He is an incredibly generous man.  He is also a man of incredibly discerning taste.  This makes him a bit difficult to find gifts for.  For example, we know that he loves wine, he loves champagne, he loves fine spirits.  An easy gift right?  No, because we also know that we'd never pick anything as good as he would choose himself.  And just buying the thing we last saw him drink is no fun.

So we kept brainstorming.  Rather than focusing on what he likes, we moved on to what he dislikes.  He hates sweets.  I don't mean that he just doesn't enjoy sweets as much as others, but, he legitimately does not like sweet things.  Quite literally, the only chocolate he will eat is 100%.  But, he likes good 100% chocolate.  If you have read my past chocolate reviews, you have likely noticed that I have actually often reviewed high percentage bars, always because they were ones that Emil found and brought in for tastings.

Since our friend was on a quest to come up with a good gift for Emil, and I mentioned that Emil likes 100% chocolate, our friend took it upon himself to find a very special 100% chocolate.   Finding 100%, or even 99% chocolate, is always a bit difficult, as most people do not choose it.

But our friend did better than just finding 100% chocolate, he found 100% truffles!  None of us were even aware that truffles are made with that high of cocoa content, the only 100% we'd ever found before was in bar form.  But, Monique's makes multiple 100% truffles!

We dug in apprehensively, as even most 100% bars turn out gritty (or otherwise are just not very good). Monique's was a pleasant surprise.  So, if you have a 100% chocolate lover in your life, check them out!
French Barry Blend (100%), San Francisco Tcho (99%).
This box was filled with several types of truffles, along with a handy guide to the truffles (each uniquely identified by their paint job), but I waited too long to snap a photo, as others had already grabbed their picks.  Whoops!  The presentation was nice, the truffles each separated from each other in the box.  The aforementioned paint jobs were also pretty, all in the same color scheme, but totally different designs.

The truffles were all a very large size, a bit hard to tell from the photo, as it was the depth was really the impressive part.  These were not one-bite creations.  They almost seemed like too much.

Emil went for the 100% and the 99%, obviously, and enjoyed them both.  We were all shocked that Emil had finally found a truffle he likes.  I think he was shocked too.  He kept remarking about how smooth the chocolate was, so rare for 100%.  Victory!

I tried the San Francisco Blend (91%), not pictured here because I devoured it before I took the photo.  It was far darker than most truffles I am used to, or even more than most chocolate for that matter.  Definitely more bitter than I am accustomed to, but it was so smooth and creamy that I didn't really notice.  Due to the large size, and the high cocoa content, it left me a bit jazzed after, which was also kinda fun.

I would love to try some of Monique's other chocolates, because if they can make super dark chocolate this good, I'm very curious to see what they do with a more mild chocolate.
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