Unless you've tasted chocolate with Michel Richart, it's possible you haven't really tasted chocolate. At least you probably haven't tried it with Roquefort cheese or foie gras.
The French chocolatier, whose family has been making the confection since 1925, recently led us through a sampling of his new chocolate and savory macaron collections, inspired by the flavors of the Périgord region: foie gras, black truffles and the famous blue cheese.
"The taste you get from chocolate is personal," Richart advises. "You should try to put into words what you're tasting." Some of the words we have for his creations aren't fit for a family publication. Suffice it to say, we would be happy eating chocolate and foie gras all day, every day.
One practical takeaway: Richart urged us to never, ever (ever!) refrigerate chocolate; the chill will keep you from experiencing all of its flavors.
While we had our hands on the adorable Frenchman, we asked him to make that ever-so-classic dessert of chocolate mousse (see the recipe). His version infuses Earl Grey tea into heavy cream; to make the finished mousse, the chocolatier gamely rolled up his sleeves and whisked egg whites into soft peaks by hand--no small task.
Although it's obvious Richart takes his craft seriously--from personally crafting the beautiful, modern designs atop each truffle to sourcing the best regional French ingredients--he says his reason for making chocolate is quite simple: "To make people happy."
Judging by the reactions his mousse got around the Test Kitchen, it seems to be working.