"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kee's Chocolate - October 23, 2010

After the departure of Debauve & Gallais from Manhattan, coincided with the shift in money flow to the greater world out there, namely, China (I thought the pollution in China had finally produced a hallucination when I saw Devauve & Gallais in the form of a Disney-esque pseudo Baroque building in the middle of recycled "old" Shanghai - Do as the Romans, a.k.a Chinese, do), this is the best and only place to go for chocolates in New York City these days.  Yes, yes, Le Maison de Chocolate is decent and, of course, their macarons are abominable, but the more stores it opens, the deeper it is sinking into mediocrity.  As for MarieBelle, for years I have brushed past through the glass cases to the cacao bar at the back for a reason:  Their chocolates are cute, but cute is not a word to describe flavors (it is, or was, already a miracle that the hot chocolate was good and let's not wish for too much).

Green Tea & Jasmine Macaron
The texture:  The outer shells were too hard although the inner layer was lightly chewy.  It might be due to the fact that it was in a cold case because the filling here, what do you think, was ganache-based. The green tea was the predominant first note, followed by the subtle yet firm Jasmine.  The green tea used in the macaron was of the maccha variety - the kind used in tea ceremonies where you wear kimono and hope your legs will not go to sleep but they surely do anyway - not the lighter and, in my opinion, more bland green tea that is what  green tea (ryoku cha) commonly refers to in Japan. (How many readers have I lost in the woods so far?) Therefore, this was not jasmine green tea macaron, but a jasmine maccha macaron.  In addition, Kee's used a rather decent maccha so that the flavor of maccha really came through. So, was there a problem?  Imagine that atrocious orange latte at Starbucks (I would not even entertain the eggnog latte or pumpkin latte or whatever other monstrosities they have created inbetween). I have never had it and I never will - Why not? Because orange and coffee are both very distinct flavors which by nature are not meant to be together.  In this case, while maccha and jasmine were much amenable to each other, each was also a separate flavor.  The chocolate, unexpectedly mild and background, acted to bind these two flavors at first bite.  However, the more you eat, the more your brain starts to retain the flavors; they build up.  Therefore, individual maccha and jasmine flavors started to take a toll half way through the macaron so that a light frown appears on our brows. So, again, was there a problem? Yes, there was:  It was a mild indigestion of your gustatory senses. I cannot help but imagine what the masters in France could have done to join maccha and jasmine together in a holy matrimony...

Sesame Truffle
This I consider to be Kee's masterpiece:  Kee's really has made its contribution to the culinary arts. The toasted black sesame seeds are so light and crunchy, which is such a delight in the mouth, while the dark chocolate is velvety and ultra-smooth - a contrast of savory and the bittersweet; of nutty and silky. Only Kee's dark chocolate and Debauve & Gallais' can the adjective, "silky," be truly applied to.

Fennel Truffle
This is Kee's show-off:  Fennel and chocolate may just be as far removed in relation as orange and coffee. Nonetheless, Kee's has the technique and imagination (Starbucks has only the childish playfulness) to execute her vision into something new, something divine that has the power to transform your perception and transcends the limit of each ingredient.  The light acidity in the chocolate simultaneously brought out the deep chocolate and the herbal fennel and while accentuating each, it also entwined them into a single unity.

Kee's Chocolate
Address:  80 Thompson St., New York, NY 10012
Phone:  (212) 334-3284

No comments:

Post a Comment