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cea mai buna ciocolata din lume / the best chocolate in the world September 29, 2011

Posted by lillylikes in Chocolate.
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Anul trecut am fost la Bruxelles pentru o saptamana. Cred ca va dati seama ca nu poti sa te afli in Belgia, patria ciocolatei, fara sa nu gusti diferitele sortimente de ciocolata, ciocolata care se afla peste tot, in toate magazinele si in toate vitrinele. Imi aduc aminte ca mi-a fost greu sa ma hotarasc ce fel de ciocolata sa cumpar ca si suvenir pentru cei dragi de acasa… Nu vroiam sa cumpar Neuhaus, Godiva, Guylian, Leonidas sau Cote d’or, chiar daca stiam ca sunt firme bune si faimoase cu ciocolata foarte buna, dar pentru mine toate aveau o problema. Le stiam deja, le-am gustat inainte si in plus le puteam cumpara de oriunde, de prin aeropoarte sau din diferite orase, nu trebuia neaparat sa ma duc pana la Bruxelles dupa ele 🙂

Acum imi doream altceva, ceva cu totul special si extraordinar… nu stiam ce, dar eram in cautarea acelui “ceva”. Saptamana mea trecea repede, si tot nu imi gaseam “ceva”-ul… incepeam sa fiu dezamagita. Cu 2 zile inainte de a pleca, l-am intrebat asa intr-o doara pe taximetristul care ma ducea pe unde aveam de mers, care e ciocolata lui favorita. Si i-am explicat ca as vrea o ciocolata speciala si buna si sa nu fie nici una din cele enumerate deja mai sus… Taximetristul s-a uitat la mine si cu un zambet ciudat pe fata (initial am crezut ca imi zice ca sunt nebuna si sa nu mai caut cai verzi pe pereti) mi-a spus “Stiu exact ce iti trebuie, si este un loc unde o sa gasesti exact ce cauti. Tie nu iti trebuie o ciocolata… tie iti trebuie un Pierre Marcolini“. Pe moment m-am gandit oare ce legatura are nenea “Pierre-Marco-cine” cu ce vreau eu :). Mi-a dat adresa si a zis sa ma duc acolo sa incerc si ca el e sigur ca acolo am sa gasesc ceea ce caut. Dupa ce am terminat treburile pe ziua respectiva, m-am dus direct la adresa unde trebuia sa gasesc magazinul, adresa care e un pic mai departe de centru, sau asa mi s-a parut mie… poate ma insel ca nu prea cunosc orasul.

In fine, am ajuns la adresa Rue des Minimes 1 unde pe colt la o intersectie am descoperit intrarea in magazinul Pierre Marcolini. De afara nu parea cine stie ce, dar cand am intrat inauntru…oh Doamne, era exact ca intr-un magazin unde se vind bijuterii si diamante. Incepand de la usa erau macarons de toate felurile si culorile, prajituri extraordinare care pareau bucati de arta in miniatura, praline, biscuiti, cicoalata impachetata era asezata in vitrine ca si la expozitie, dar erau si bucatele de ciocolata in diferite forme, culori, arome care se vindeau la bucata.. nu mai stiam unde sa ma uit. Apoi o doamna mi-a spus ca sunt mai multe sortimente la etaj!! Nu imi venea sa cred, am urcat sus unde erau “tablete” de ciocolata, dar intr-o forma total noua pentru mine si pe fiecare scria numele, continutul de cacao, de unde este cacao folosita… toate aratau aratau incredibil. Impresia mea era ca acea ciocolata se vinde la echivalentul ei in aur, ceea ce nu e departe de adevar cand am auzit cat costa 🙂

In final, a fost tare greu sa ma decid ce sa cumpar, dar am zis ca e mai bine sa cumpar ciocolata asortata, la bucata, mici, fiecare cu arome diferite. Astfel am inceput sa ii spun doamnei ca vreau doua bucati de asta, trei de celalata… pana cand mi-a spus doamna ca aveau deja cutii gata impachetate si care contineau ciocolata din toate felurile disponibile. Asa ca am cumparat o cutie, in care era un pic mai bine de 1 kilogram de ciocolata asortata, pe care planuiam sa o iau acasa cu mine ca si suvenir si in plus am mai cumparat 2 prajituri la pachet pe care planuiam sa le maninc la hotel. Oricum in momentul in care am vazut cutia si mai ales cand am atins-o nu mi-a venit sa cred, era o cutie dintr-o hartie speciala, parea catifelata la atingere ca de piele. Pretul: nu mai stiu exact, cred ca era 60 sau 90 de euro/Kg dar se poate sa ma insel, deci cred ca am platit in total mai mult de 100 de euro. Ceva mai mult decat imi planificasem sa dau pe un suvenir, dar nu mai conta, eram sigura ca am gasit ceea ce cautam.

Nu voi putea uita niciodata acel magazin, imi dadea senzatia ca toate produsele care se vand acolo sunt pretuite la adevarata lor valoare, ca totul este facut cu mare atentie si ca nici un detaliu nu a scapat din vedere, dar mai ales imi dadea senzatia ca toate produsele sunt facute cu extraordinara indemanare, pricepere si cu dragoste! Pur si simplu se vedea cu ochiul liber ca produsele sunt facute de cineva care are o pasiune extraordinara pentru ciocolata si ca intr-adevar pune suflet in ceea ce face si iubeste fiecare produs care ajunge la vanzare.

Ajunsa acasa, in cutie, pe langa bucatile extraordinar de frumoase de ciocolata era si o carticica in care era explicata in parte fiecare bucatica ce era si ce arome continea. A fost o experienta incredibila ca si cum fiecare bucatica pe care o mancam avea povestea ei, iar eu o descopeream incet-incet. Gustul era divin la fiecare bucata de ciocolata pe care am  gustat-o,  se simtea o extraordinara finete a ingredientelor, iar aroma era atat cat trebuia nici mai mult nici mai putin. Eu de felul meu iubesc ciocolata, si sunt destul de pretentioasa cand vine vorba de ea, nu imi place orice fel…. Despre ciocolata Pierre Marcolini pot sa va spun cu mana pe inima ca este cea mai buna, mai fina si mai aromata ciocolata pe care am mancat-o vreodata.

Cautand apoi pe net sa vad cine e Pierre Marcolini iata ce am aflat: Pierre Marcolini, italian la origine, dar acum are nationalitate belgiana, este unul dintre cei mai mari ciocolatieri ai lumii si detine un lant exclusivist de produse de ciocolata. El si-a deschis primul magazin in 1995 in Bruxelles, iar in prezent produsele lui se gasesc in numai 17 magazine din intreaga lume in Belgia, Paris, Londra, New York, Kuweit si Japonia. Pasiunea lui pentru ciocolata a inceput de cand era el foarte tanar, pasiune pe care apoi a perfectionat-o de-a lungul timpului. El a fost rasplatit pentru priceperea si indemanarea lui cu numeroase premii, el fiind campion mondial in patiserie in 1995,  campion european in patiserie in 2000.  Mai recent ciocolata lui a ajuns si in America  unde si-a deschis un magazin la New York, iar apoi a fost prezentat si in show-ul american Oprah.

Pierre Marcolini detine o intreaga linie de productie in care acorda o atentie deosebita fiecarei etape de preparare, de la boabele de cacao pana la produsul final din magazine. O atentie deosebita o acorda materiilor prime cu care incepe, astfel el isi aduce boabele de cacao cu arome deosebite din diferite locuri exotice: Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, Ecuador, Java, Ghana, Cuba, Mexico, Trinidad, pe care le prajeste si apoi le macina cat mai fin posibil. Unele secrete care stau la baza gustului nemaipomenit al produselor lui si a succesului afacerii sunt:

– boabele de cacao sunt supuse la diferite procese de macinare pana cand la final pudra de cacao folosita are particule de 12 microni!!! Daca numarul nu va spune nimic, ganditi-va ca firul parului la om are un diametru intre 17-180 microni (sursa: Wikipedia). Deci, pudra de cacao folosita de Pierre Marcolini are particulele mai mici decat ar fi diametrul firului de par uman;

– in combinatie cu pudra de ciocolata foloseste diferite arome din ingrediente naturale, deosebite si de calitate: mere, pere, mure, zmeura, lamaie, vanilie, pepene galben, piper, nucsoara, migdale, castane, busuioc, ulei de masline, patchouli, nuci, santal, sofran, stejar, Earl Gray;

– in afara de produsele standard, Pierre Marcolini este intr-o continua stare de perfectionare a produselor lui, astfel ca el are colectii deosebite in functie de sezon, in care scoate produse noi pe piata (de Craciun, de Pasti, de Valentine´s Day);

– toate colecţiile si produsele lui de ciocolata sunt ambalate în cutii frumoase, negre si elegante concepute de catre faimosul designer de produse de lux din piele Delvaux (cea mai veche companie din lume care produce articole de lux din piele);

– produsele lui contin indulcitori, iar zaharul este inlocuit de de un produs special numit SweetPearl obtinut din grau si porumb, iar astfel aroma se simte mult mai bine si mai puternic;

– este tot timpul in cautarea a noi plantatii de cacao din intreaga lume, plantatii pe care le ajuta, le protejeaza si cu care colaboreaza. Un exemplu este colaborarea lui cu Clara Echevaria din Mexic. Ea a luptat ani la rand sa isi salveze si sa isi protejeze soiul ei deosebit de cacao denumita Porcelana. Astfel Marcolini a creat un baton de ciocolata cu aceasta cacao denumit “Limited Edition Chocolate Square²”;

– isi vinde produsele in magazine exclusiviste lucru care te face mai curios, mai interesat si mai fascinat sa ii gusti produsele;

Multe ar fi de spus despre Pierre Marcolini si despre faimoasele lui produse. Dar cred ca fiecare dintre noi ar trebui sa il descoperim asa cum si noi ii descoperim fiecare aroma ascunsa in bucatelele lui magice de ciocolata… incet si sigur, pentru ca placerea sa fie accentuata la maxim. Pentru inceput, daca nu aveti la indemana un magazin de-al lui prin apropiere, cautati si incercati macar virtual sa il descoperiti si sa ii intelegeti pasiunea si dragostea pentru ceea ce face. Ca si punct de pornire incercati aici, aici, aici.

Concluzia: Daca sunteti in cautarea unui cadou deosebit, indiferent de ocazie (zi de nastere, zi aniversara, de Craciun, de Pasti sau de Valentine´s Day) pentru o persoana deosebita nu ezitati sa cumparati cutia neagra, eleganta si spectaculoasa de la Pierre Marcolini. Sunt sigura ca nu veti da gres cu un asemenea cadou, ba din contra, ii veti impresiona cu rafinamentul, finetea, savoarea si eleganta acestor produse. Din partea mea 5 flori rafinate de crin!P.S. Soferul de taxi a avut dreptate… ceea ce am gasit eu in acel magazin nu e doar o simpla ciocolata… e un Pierre Marcolini! Acum inteleg de ce !

Update: Colectia exclusivista a lui Pierre Marcolini pentru Craciun 2011 poate fi gasita aici.

English version

Last year I went to Buxelles for a week. I guess you can figure out that you cannot be in Belgium, the chocolate land, without tasting the different types of chocolate, chocolate that can be found everywhere, in all the shops, on all shop windows. I remember that it was hard for me to decide which chocolate to buy as a souvenir for the dear ones at home. I somehow did not want to buy Neuhaus, Godiva, Guylian, Leonidas or Cote d’or, even if I knew they were good and famous brands with tasteful chocolate, but for me they all had a problem. I knew them already, I’ve tasted them before and I could have bought them from almost anywhere in the world, from airports or big cities, I did not have to go all the way to Bruxelles to get them :).

Now I wanted something different, something special and extraordinary… I did not know what, but I set out looking for that “something”. My week was passing rapidly and I still did not find that “something”… I started to get anxious. Two days before I had to leave, I randomly asked the cab driver who was taking me some place, which was his favourite chocolate. And I explained to him that I wanted a special, good chocolate, which was none of the above. The driver looked at me with a funny smile on his face ( initially I thought that he would say I’m crazy and looking for nonsense) and said “I know exactly what you need, and there is a place where you will find it. You’re not looking for a chocolate, you’re looking for a Pierre Marcolini“. In that moment I thought what would mister “Pierre-Marco-what’shisname” with what I need :). He gave me the address and told me to go there and try it out, and assured me that I will find there what I am looking for. After I finished my business for the day, I went straight at that address where the shop was, which I thought was bit far from the city centre, at least that’s how it seemed, I might be wrong as I do not know the city very well.

Finally, I got at the address Rue des Minimes 1, where at a street corner I found the entrance to the Pierre Marcolini shop. It did not seem much from the outside, but when I got in.. oh God, it was exactly like a jewellery and diamonds shop. Starting from the entrance, it was full of macarons of all kinds and colours, wonderfully crafted cakes which seemed like miniature art, pralines, biscuits, wrapped chocolate was place in the window as for an exhibition, but there were also pieces of chocolate of different forms, colours, aromas which were sold by piece… I did not know where to look first. Then some lady told me that there is more chocolate upstairs!! I could not believe it, I went up where I found chocolate “tablets”, but in a form new to me, with their name written on them, the cocoa content and origin.. all of them looked incredible. My impression was that the chocolate was worth its weight in gold, which was not very far from the truth after finding out its price :).

In the end it was difficult to decide what to buy, but I said that it might be better to buy some assorted chocolate, by piece, small ones, each with different aromas. So I began to tell the lady that I wanted two these and three of that, until she told me they already had some ready-wrapped boxes with chocolate from all the available kinds. So, I bought a whole box which had perhaps a bit more than one kilogram of assorted chocolate, which I planned to take home with me as a souvenir, plus 2 cakes which I planned to eat at the hotel. Anyway when I saw the box and especially after touching it I could not believe it, it must be some sort of special paper, it seemed almost like velvet. The price I do not remember exactly, it must have been 60 or 90 Euros/kg, but I might be wrong, so in total I paid a bit more than 100 Euros. It was more than I planned to spend on a souvenir, but it did not matter, I was sure I found what I was looking for.

I will never forget that shop, it gave the feeling that all the products that were on sale there were truly valued, that all was done carefully and that all details were taken care of, but mostly it gave me the feeling that all the products were made with great skill, craft and love! You could simply see that they were made by someone who had an extraordinary passion for chocolate and that he puts his soul in what he does and that he loves each product that goes on sale.

After I got home, I opened the box and beside the extraordinary pieces of chocolate there was a booklet in which all of them were described and what kind of aroma they had. It was an incredible experience as if each piece that I was tasting had its own story, and I was discovering it step-by-step. The taste was divine for each chocolate bit that I tried out, you could feel an incredible finesse of the ingredients, and the aroma was not overdone. I for one love chocolate and am relatively pretentious when it comes to it, I do not like any kind. About the Pierre Marcolini chocolate I can safely say that it is the best, the most refined, filled with aroma chocolate that I ever tasted.

Searching the net to find out who Pierre Marcolini was, here is what I found out: Pierre Marcolini, Italian in origin, but with Belgian citizenship now, is one of the most renowned chocolatiers of the world and owns an exclusive chain of chocolate products. He opened his first shop in 1995 in Bruxelles, and now you can find his products in only 17 shops around the world: Belgium, Paris, London, New York, Kuweit and Japan. His passion for chocolate started at a young age, a passion which he perfected along the time. He was rewarded for his skill and craft with numerous awards, being crowned world champion in pastry in 1995, and European champion in 2000. Recently he went to the US where he opened a shop in New York, and then he was presented at the Oprah show.

Pierre Marcolini owns and entire line of production in which he pays a great deal of attention to each manufacturing step, from the cocoa beans to the final product in the shop. A special attention is given to the raw materials, so he imports the cocoa beans with special aromas from different exotic locations like: Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, Ecuador, Java, Ghana, Cuba, Mexico, Trinidad, which then he roasts and grinds as finely as possible. Some of the secrets that give the extraordinary taste of its products and his success are:

– the cocoa beans are subjected to different grinding procedures until the cocoa powder has about 12 microns particles!! If the dimension does not say much, think that the human hair has a diameter between 17-180 microns. So, the cocoa powder used by Pierre Marcolini is finer than the diameter of the human hair;

– combined with the chocolate powder, he uses aromas from natural ingredients, special and of high quality: apples, pears, blackberries, raspberries, lemons, vanilla, honey melon, pepper, nutmeg, chestnuts, basil, olive oil, patchouli, walnuts, sandal, saffron, oak, Earl Grey;

– beside the standard products, Pierre Marcolini is in a continuous improvement, so he has different collections each season, in which he comes out with new products on the market (Christmas, Easter, Valentine´s Day);

– all his collections and chocolate products are packed in nice, black, elegant boxes conceived by the famous designer Delvaux, which has the oldest company that designs and produces luxury leather products;

– his products contain sweeteners, while sugar is replaced with a special product called SweetPearl, extracted from wheat and corn, so the aroma is enhanced and felt more strongly;

– he is always looking for new cocoa plantations across the world, plantations that he helps, protects and collaborates with. As example comes his collaboration with Clara Echevaria from Mexico. She fought for years to save and protect her special cocoa specie called Porcelana. So Marcolini created a chocolate bar out of this cocoa source called “Limited Edition Chocolate Square”;

– he sells his products in exclusive shops, which makes you even more curious, more interested and more glamorous when tasting his products;

There are a lot to be said about Pierre Marcolini and his famous products. But I guess each one of us should discover him as we discover every aroma that he hides in his magic pieces of chocolate… slowly but surely, so that the pleasure should reach a peak. For the beginning, if you do not have a shop somewhat nearby, look for and try to discover him virtually and understand his passion and love for what he does. As a starting point take the links from here, here, here.

Conclusion: If you are looking for a special gift, regardless of the occasion (a birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, Easter or Valentine´s Day) for a special person, do not hesitate to buy the black, elegant, spectacular Pierre Marcolini chocolate box. I am sure that you would not fail with such a present, moreover, you will impress with offering the refinement, finesse, savour and elegance of these products. From me they get 5 refined lilies!

P.S. The cab driver was right… what I found in that shop was not a simple chocolate, it was a Pierre Marcolini ! Now I understand why !

Update: Pierre Marcolini’s Exclusive Christmas Collection for 2011 can be seen here.

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