June 29th, 2009 by Rosa
The Provencal city of Avignon was stop number two in my recent jaunt through France. The Michelin guide in the Avignon tourist office recommended two places that piqued my candy-blogger interest: a confiserie and a chocolaterie. While we never managed to find the confiserie (despite the best efforts of the kind locals we asked for directions), we did make it to the Chocolaterie de Puyricard.
The beautiful shop was quite classy, with glass cases filled with a wide variety of gorgeous truffles. Unfortunately, they didn’t label anything, and though the saleslady patiently answered all of my questions, I did feel bad pointing to everything and asking, “qu’est-ce que c’est?”(my pidgin way of asking “What is it?”)
I only nabbed one picture of the chocolates, as it was hottt at the time, and the chocolates were pretty melty by the time we biked back to our hotel room (by the way, if you ever visit Avignon, I highly recommend Sun Valley. We paid 42 euro/night for a studio double, complete with private bath and mini kitchen and fridge.), so I had to eat them quickly. We’ll go clockwise, starting from the left.
The two-toned chocolate was their praline. It turned out to be a nutty, creamy praline that was prettily piped into a thin-shelled dark chocolate trough (so there’s more praline than meets the eye; what you can see is only about half of what you get). The praline was soft, with the texture of a thick creamy frosting, and it tasted strongly of hazelnuts and chocolate. The dark chocolate trough had a nice snap, but its flavor was pretty thoroughly dominated by the praline.
The scalloped triangle was their praline fort – a strong praline. It was thicker, heavier, and nuttier than it’s weaker counterpart, like uber-concentrated Nutella on steroids. Lip-smackingly good.
The cylinder was a dark chocolate honey. The dark chocolate shell was so snappy that it crunched, revealing a sweet, flowy center. While the textural contrast was nice, the honey innards were throat-burningly sweet, too much for me to handle.
And finally, the poor crushed chestnut-shaped chocolate was chestnut and rum. The flowy, translucent ganache had the mild nuttiness of chestnut paste, followed by a whoa! boozy kick. The rum component is a strong tastebud wallop that really catches you by surprise.
If I ever make it back to Avignon, the Chocolaterie de Puyricard is definitely on my revist list, as is the praline fort. It gets an OM while the rest get an O. I wanted to try more of Puyricard’s flavors, and at approximately 1 euro per truffle, they’re an affordable indulgence. It’s really too bad we weren’t in Avignon longer; I could’ve happily tasted my way through them all, one day at a time.