Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Good Year for Chocolate?

From France’s Loire – the valley of kings and castles – come the only chocolates in the word with a vintage date, according to owner Pierre-Jean Sauvion of the Sauvion wine estate in Muscadet. It was there that his grandmother invented the candies, called "Les Genevieve" after their inventor, out of her desire to make sure that nothing would go to waste at her family winemaking estate. The hand-made chocolate candies, shaped like wine barrels, are filled with a mixture made from the dried-out grapes (raisins) in the vineyards that were not appropriate to use in winemaking because of their lack of juice.

The limited production candies are made each year but in varying amounts; production is limited by the size of the grape crop in any given year. The winery says the candies can sell out at any time, but customers can “reserve” an order at the beginning of the year. 

I tasted them and they are delicious. The cost is $16.50 for 20 chocolates or about $13 for 15 chocolates at the winery’s Chateau Cleray in Vallet. They are also available at CARLI, a p√Ętissier and chocolatier in the city of Nantes.