Amuse Bouche 

California-made chocolate bars with a French soul 

| National   Cooking | Kaitlyn Goalen

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"I make the chocolate I want to eat. Appealing but not too ordinary."

So says Diane Beaty, chocolatier and owner of Maison Bouche.

Beaty, formerly a pastry chef at Herbsaint restaurant, left New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and relocated to California.

Lacking the funds to open a shop, she launched Maison Bouche, a line of chocolate bars made using a proprietary blend of chocolate from a secret European source.

She handcrafts the bars, wrapping them in colorful foil and labeling them with gorgeous paper, often printed with images that hint at her interest in 18th-century French history.

Pretty to look at, the bars ($6) are even more delicious than they appear. Our favorites contain crunchy bits--from the sablés croquantes, a bar with bits of crumbled butter cookie, to the riz soufflé caramelize, a high-class Nestlé Crunch.

Beaty frequently runs seasonal specials, such as a dark-chocolate bar with strips of candied blood-orange peel and one that combines rose and crystallized-mint leaves.

The Easter line has just debuted: In addition to bunnies, there are bars flavored like almond croissants and crêpes suzette.

This, in other words, is chocolate worth hunting for.

See Flavors from Maison Bouche
Taste More Chocolate We Love
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