Wednesday, June 24, 2015

L'atelier du chocolat Expands their Menu

Since opening in March, L'atelier du chocolat has been hard at work making the most out of their new location. Within the first couple of months, they've expanded their selection to include not just their delicious artisan chocolates, but also pastries, tarts, and other baked goods - many of them incorporating the unique flavors they use in their truffles.
As part of their morning coffee offerings, the shop started baking croissants and pain au chocolat along with a few other typical morning pastries. I tried the pain au chocolat and while I think the outermost layer had lost some flaky crunch from sitting (it was pretty late in the morning on a weekend when I got there), the flavors were tremendous. Sweet, buttery, and with lots of airy layers, it was on the smaller side and at first glance, didn't appear to have much actual chocolate in it, but because of the richness of the pastry and the dark intensity of the chocolate, a little bit packed a big punch. This is absolutely something I would recommend and I know I'll be returning for it.

Interested in how the baked goods would demonstrate the sense of exploration and unusual ingredients seen in their truffles, I also tried the coconut sugar brownie and the matcha tart.

The brownie was actually a bit of a disappointment. I'd call it more of a long chocolate financier - it was missing that truly intense chocolate flavor and gooey richness I expect from a brownie and found the texture was more of a slightly dense cake.  The sweet coconut taste, while interesting to try, was overwhelming and I think contributed to the texture issues. If you're not looking for an actual brownie, but just something in bar form and on the sweeter side, this will definitely suit those purposes; just don't expect to really satiate a strong brownie craving with this - I'm thinking the individual flourless chocolate cakes they sell might though.

The matcha tart on the other hand, was excellent. A thin, crisp pastry shell spread with a slight layer of fig jam and filled with what I can best describe as a thick, creamy green tea pudding. The fruitiness of the jam was a bit of a contrast to the smooth, delicate, and slightly floral flavors of the matcha but each complemented the other very well. It was probably about 4 inches in diameter, on the heavier side because of the thick filling, and it also had one of the matcha truffles on top, making it fairly indulgent. That also made the decision to get a tart and not truffles a little easier.

The downside is L'atelier du chocolat (open 7am-8pm at 321 Marin St., right by Grove station) is a little on the pricey side, but considering the quality of the ingredients and the sizes, I wouldn't say it's unreasonable. They frequently introduce new flavor combinations and it's well worth a visit to see what they have on offer that day.

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