Dessert Professional magazine has chosen North America’s best chocolatiers for 2015, and brought them to NYC for an awards ceremony — and a victory lap for their finest creations. We picked the best confections for your sweetie.
Michael Antonorsi came from the world of tech, but after 14 years decided to become a chef in Paris. He believes that chocolate should be an emotional experience, and for Valentine’s Day, he’s created a unique take on a chocolate-covered strawberry: The fruit is dehydrated, then soaked in port wine and blanketed in port-infused chocolate.
Strawberry Balsamic Rare Facets
Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates
After dreaming of becoming a pastry chef since childhood, Anette Righi DeFendi’s career plans changed at her first chocolate class. Her geometric creations look straight out of the future — a good relationship omen — and come with a range of fillings, but this sweet strawberry and tangy balsamic blend stands out.
Mint Chocolate Bonbon
Fine & Raw
New York City
Daniel Sklaar’s chocolate is the one to buy for your guy with a sweet tooth. Trading perfection for rugged handsomeness, his treats aren’t uniform. But the one consistent factor: the handmade chocolates, produced in in Sklaar’s hip Brooklyn shop, pack an entire slice of cake’s worth of richness into each super dense piece.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bonbon
Co Co. Sala
Santosh Tiptur grew up on Cadbury Chocolate Eclairs (a caramel candy filled with milk chocolate) as his treat for getting chores done, which led him to explore other varieties. Try his signature creation, meticulously decorated bonbons, filled with surprising pairings like rosemary caramel and banana ginger. The PB&J is a perfect bite of childhood.
Oliver Kita Chocolates
Rhinebeck, New York
Chocolate is an everyday delicacy for Oliver Kita, who spent most of his life as an artist before turning to chocolatiering. The creative background helps him not just to design chocolates but also invent new flavor combinations. The umami kick of the Japanese Mermaid is like a dessert sushi roll: spicy seaweed sits on top of dark chocolate infused with sesame and wasabi.
Cookies & Champagne Bonbon
Stick With Me
New York City
Susanna Yoon’s runway-ready creations look more like jewels than chocolate, spackled with glittery patches and playful fillings. In this bonbon, she pairs crunchy cookie bits with Champagne that leaves the tongue fizzing. Swing by her sunny little shop near SoHo to watch the chocolates being made.
Basil Yuzu Truffle
New York City
Christophe Toury is a big fan of citrus as a complementary flavor to chocolate. Biting into this particular truffle, the brightness of basil is the first note to come through, like the crisp greenery of spring; then the chocolate melts, releasing the yuzu for a taste of early summer.
Pine Nut Cinnamon Squares
Chocolate can be temperamental, but that’s what Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney like about it. For this treat, the chocolatiers took pine nuts out of their usual setting in pesto and candied them with a hint of cinnamon for a totally new spin on a praline.
Polska European Bakery & Chocolate
San Luis Potosi, Mexico
(0052) 14 44 825 2051
Alas, you’d have to celebrate Valentine’s Day south of the border to get Slawomir Piotr Korczak’s chocolates. His tree-looking creations hide a rich coffee ganache inside a surprisingly tart shell flavored with Mexican vanilla and lemon.