When it comes to New Orleans, it’s easy to think of gumbo, crawfish, oysters, pralines, and red beans & rice.
Chocolate might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it might be after you taste Sucre chocolates, which are handmade in small batches, often with local, homegrown ingredients.
Joel Dondis, who worked with the Brennan family at Mr. B’s and was a sous chef at Emeril’s, is the founder. Tariq Hanna, a native of Nigeria who opened his first pastry shop at age 24 in Detroit, is the executive pastry chef.
Their cafe on Magazine Street turns out pastries, specialty cakes, French macarons, gelato and assorted chocolates.
Recently, I had the chance to try a sample of Sucre’s holiday “Sugar & Spice” collection of bonbons.
I’ll use my patented scale of 1 to 10 lip-smackers, with 1 being the “Bleh, save your money” far end of the spectrum; 5 being the “I’m not sure I’d buy it, but if it was just there, I might nibble some” middle-of-the-road response; and 10 being the “My gawd, I could die now and never be happier, because this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” supreme ranking.
Sucre “Sugar & Spice” Collection (a six-piece box is $12): Three different varieties of filled chocolates star in this assortment. The exterior shells are nicely thin to let the fillings take center stage.
The eggnog dark chocolate truffle is decorated with artsy brushstrokes of white and tan colors. The texture is a little grainy. The taste is very much of eggnog with a big hit of nutmeg. The candy cane truffle is enrobed in white chocolate with cheery red specks all over it. Inside, a smooth, white chocolate ganache is infused with the fresh, light taste of peppermint. The gingerbread truffle is covered in milk chocolate that has a goldeny glow. Cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg are front and center. If you closed your eyes, you’d swear you were eating a piece of gingerbread cake instead; that’s how pronounced the flavor is. It’s one big taste of the holidays in a tiny package. Rating: 8 lip-smackers.