One of the greatest surprises while visiting Chateauneuf du Pape was this excellent chocolaterie. Chocolate doesn’t usually spring to mind when thinking about Provence, and that’s too bad. This chocolate passed my most criticial chocolate tests: it melted smoothly and dissolved into pleasing notes of flavors. I find it difficult to describe chocolate, and especially to be able to differentiate the flavors in words, although the differences are obvious when you taste chocolates one after the other. My most common complaints of a chocolate would be an astringent flavor and a curdled sort of melting quality. Bernard Castelain has none of those problems.
I was also impressed by the variety of chocolate available — with many different percentages of cocoa, different origins, different fillings, different shapes. There’s a large sales room to show all of them off, and samples for just about everything. Here is a site that sells some of their chocolate bars, so you can get an idea of their variety.
These are champagne truffles… which, of course, means cognac. These were my favorite. I also liked the cork-shaped “bouchons” flavored the same way.
Second favorite, these rocks. There was a bright flash of flavor from the coating — something creamy and approaching citrus about it.
Almond Paste with Coffee. I liked this candy bar-like style.
St Domingue, Equateur (from Ecuador), Tanzanie.