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Éclat Chocolate

http://eclatchocolate.com

Overall Rating: 4 from 2 ratings

Éclat Chocolate in West Chester has been featured in such high and mighty publications as Food & Wine, Vogue, and Philadelphia Magazine, so we here at Small Food figured it was high time to add our name to that list.

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A personal disclaimer before we get started: chocolate is one of my favorite foods, if not my favorite, however I have never been particularly fond of “chocolates” of the Godiva variety. I’ve never felt the need to put a funky-tasting cream inside what is already a near-perfect food. And yes, if you see a box of chocolates near me, you’ll probably see a thumbprint in the bottom of every single one, on the constant search for a non-offensive filling. Anyway…

We rolled into Éclat on a cold winter day, and were immediately greeted with a cheery offer for a free sample of “the best hot chocolate we will ever taste”. The unique aspect of Eclat’s hot chocolate is the way it is made — instead of using a powder, they use a chocolate lollipop type instrument (pictured above) to stir in the flavor to warm milk. Time for a quick lesson: Americans tend to use the terms “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” interchangeably, and by American standards this is an outstanding beverage. In Europe, however, while “hot cocoa” is the traditional beverage of chocolate powder stirred into milk, “hot chocolate” tends to be a much thicker drink that tastes almost as if you are drinking a melted chocolate bar. Clearly, Eclat’s version is closer to the Euro version, though it was not quite as rich or thick as those of the cafes in Central Europe. Even so, it is the best version one will find around here this winter.

Next we tried the dark chocolate “bars”, which are actually mendiants, or thin discs of chocolate, mostly pure 60-75% chocolate, but sometimes with additional flavorings like pink peppercorns. Though tasty, these were a bit too thin, which created less of a smooth mouth-feel that I look for in fine dark chocolate. Considering the price — upwards of $15 for 5oz., I’ll stick to Lindt and Ghirardelli.

Lastly we sampled a few of the chocolates. Not expecting much (as per my comments above), I tried a dark chocolate caramel — and it was out-of-this-world outstanding! The rich, dark chocolate and the deep, buttery, toffee flavor are simply a perfect combination, and the explosion of flavor that comes from a few small sea salt crystals only builds on said perfection. This is certainly a must-have on any trip to Éclat. I tried a few of the weirder combos as well — the red wine truffle and the passion fruit chocolate were interesting, but nothing spectacular, and the beer truffle, made with Victory Prima Pils, was just plain odd.

All in all, Éclat is an enjoyable place to go, with some excellent choices to match your taste. Try it next time you’re in WC!

2 Responses to Éclat Chocolate

  1. ChocoGirl says:

    The chocolate is good enough (although no one has better truffles than the traditional French ones at The Chocolate Box in Lambertville!), but the owner is a bit off-putting. I went in there one day for a gift to take to a dinner party, and there was only one other customer in the shop. Both the owner and a young counter-person were on duty. The young counter-person disappeared into the back soon after I walked in, and I spent the next twenty minutes with an eager “I’m ready to be helped, whenever you can get to me!” look on my face, while I listened to the owner regale the other customer with stories of skiing trips he’d taken and with whom (people it seemed he expected to be well-known names to me and the other customer), and where. Blah blah blah, on and on. After he ran out of steam (which took quite some time), he finally got around to selling me a big box of chocolate (while also mispronouncing the name of the whisky he uses in the whisky truffles). Although I live very close and have a significant chocolate budget , I have not been back to Eclat.

    2
  2. Ian says:

    Every month I make the trip from Wayne to stock up on the dark sea salt truffles. I, too, am not a huge fan of the Godivas — much less Lindt (bleh) — but Eclat’s are out of this world. Several of their products are stocked at Fork etc. in Old City. Eclat is a real treasure. Our area is lucky to have it.

    5

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