Thursday, November 16, 2006

Playing Favorites: Food Destinations #3 Results

Fourteen bloggers from around the world recently entered Chocolate in Context's Food Destinations #3: My Favorite Chocolate Shop contest. The entries cover a diverse range of chocolate emporiums, stalls, boutiques, and cafes. Herein is a digest of all the favorites.

I Was Just Really Very Hungry:
Maki is the founder of Food Destinations, a graphic designer extraordinaire, and the quintessential expat food blogger. She's "a Japanese American ex-Tokyoite, ex-New Yorker, currently living in beautiful Switzerland," and she chose Zurich's Confiserie Sprungli as her fave. (Maki also explains that the shop is unaffiliated with the corporate chocolate-maker Lindt & Sprungli.)

This Non-American Life:
Another American transplanted to Switzerland, Julie wrote about the abundant offerings at Coop department store. Incidentally, Julie just traveled to Japan (where she shared her Swiss chocolate with the locals, no doubt.)

David Lebovitz ... Living the Sweet Life in Paris:
An Author and pastry chef, David also blogs about European life from an American perspective. Though he's usually based in Paris, his gem of a post is about a trip he took to Rome, where he discovered a superlatively Italian chocolate shop called Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio.

The Brits are over-represented in this blogging event, perhaps because the deadline coincided with UK Chocolate Week (an annual festival celebrating all things cacao-related). Shana chronicled a chocolate tour of London, stopping at five all-time favorites.

Eat the Right Stuff:
Another Londoner, Abby visited a chocolate temple called Montezuma's. She traded in £20 for seven bars (including one dark chocolate with geranium and orange) plus a bag of truffles. Sounds like money well spent.

Spittoon Extra:
In between writing articles for an enormous number of food and wine blogs, Andrew found time to discuss Gorvett & Stone in the British hamlet of Henley-on-Thames. He turned his attention to the double-dipped Fresh Mint Dark Chocolate Truffles.

Night Grapefruit:
Another busy blogger, Leila regularly travels back and forth between her home in New York and places like Malawi and Burkina Faso on (non-profit) business trips. But she found time to reminisce about one of her childhood favorites, Mondel's Chocolate Shop in Morningside Heights.

Veronica's Test Kitchen:
The Virginia-based blogger celebrates a haute chocolate superstore in Richmond called For the Love of Chocolate. The original owner keeps the shelves stocked with Valrhona, Callebaut, Scharffen Berger, Guittard, and El Rey. But eager readers should follow in Veronica's footsteps quickly, since this labor of love is set to change hands in January of 2007.

Columbus Foodie:
Moving further west, Becke found a tireless, self-trained chocolatier named Daniel Cooper in the middle of Ohio. She tells an inspirational tale, made even more enticing by a Columbus Foodie-sponsored giveaway. Anyone who comments on Becke's post within the next two weeks will automatically be entered in a drawing to receive a nine-piece box of Cooper's Pure Imagination chocolate.

Fer Food:
LA-based blogger Fer turned her attention to the Boule boutique, a swish location for bon-bons and pastries. Fer's suggestion of drinking half an Italian hot chocolate and refrigerating the rest so that it can be consumed later in pudding-form hits the spot.

Australian blogger little m set out to isolate the better of Brisbane's two major chocolate shops. The experiment included hazelnut clusters, orange fish, cherry liqueurs, and a chocolate hangover.

Cook (almost) Anything at least once:
Even closer to home, Haalo snapped up six samples (along with some incredible photographs) at Xocolatl in the Melbourne suburb of Canterbury. You won't find the basil-and-champagne bon-bon anywhere else.

Though we've never met, I believe Ed is my neighbor. The Melbourne-based blogger has been a constant supporter of Monsieur Truffle, a man whom I have called "the best chocolatier in Melbourne" in casual conversation though I've eaten far too few of his ganache-filled truffles (each made with a different brand of couverture, depending on the characteristics of the filling). Ed's the expert, and he tells everything he knows in his post "the chocolate I want, knew and now know."

And the Winner Is...

Regular readers know how much I struggled to simply choose a favorite chocolate shop (finally settling on Koko Black). But having to name one blogger the winner of this contest was even harder! So many of these entries seem prize-worthy to me--though I have to admit that I have ulterior motives in some cases (Leila is a dear friend of mine; David has written cookbooks that I incredibly admire). So in order for this contest to be both fair and manageable, I took all bloggers whom I know, work for, want to know, or want to work for out of the running. And, after all that, my completely unbiased view is that Shelly from An Open Cupboard submitted the very best entry.

An Open Cupboard:
California blogger Shelly provides her readers with an artful letter of introduction for the Bay Area chocolate boutique and cafe Bittersweet. Her eloquent reviews of the various artisanal and origin chocolates on supply, along with her vivid photos of the homemade confections and chocolate-themed knick-knacks, made my eyes pop out of my head. Bittersweet is a shop that I didn't know existed until about a month ago, and I've never had a chance to visit though I recently did write about the inspired shop on Sugar Savvy. Bittersweet will be on the top of my list the next time I'm in San Francisco, and Shelly's post may just inspire me to make that trip sooner than I planned. Shelly--whom I also find unbelievably impressive for writing a complete (and compelling!) article every single day in November as part of National Blog Posting Month--will receive a box of Koko Black chocolates and a copy of the food bloggers' cookbook Digital Dish.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great roundup, and entries! Now I have this unbelievable urge to get chocolate... (rushes out the door)

4:39 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ed said...

Yes, we are neighbours and I spent far too much time virtually on your doorstep at the Mr Wolf bar or sampling the burgers at Dannys. Great round-up.

12:23 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Jessica Brogan said...

This is really fantastic. I had no idea this event was going on, or has been. How can I be informed about the next one??

10:28 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kudos to the winner...more chocolate for all!

4:18 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a great selection of posts and so many chocolates to dream of trying. thanks for hosting this emily.

9:05 AM GMT-5  

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