What do you get when a legendary chocolatier teams up with nine internatioinally renowned pastry chefs for a new collection? Heaven.
Introducing Neuhaus Chocolates' newest culinary masterpiece, the “Haute Patisserie" collection.
I was fortunate to be on hand for the collection's delicious debut at the flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York. Top New York pastry chef, Dominique Ansel, owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery was also on hand representing the US within the collection.
Neuhaus selected the nine pastry chefs based on their talent and influence in the world of gastronomy, with each of them gleaning inspiration from his own roots, experience and favorite dessert. Together with the expertise of Neuhaus’ Master Chocolatier each chef created individual pralines showcasing their talent paired with the company’s rich history. The result is a unique collection of nine different pralines that will take chocolate lovers on a journey around the world of “Haute Patisserie.” Join me for the journey.
Dominique Ansel, USA
Originally from Paris, Dominique made his name in New York as the pastry chef in Chef Daniel Boulud’s three-star restaurant. He has won various awards, such as “Best New Patisserie of New York”, “Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the United States” and has been nominated as “Outstanding Pastry Chef”.
For his praline, Dominique chose ganache with roasted peanuts on a layer of caramel ‘à l’ancienne,’ enrobed with a creamy milk chocolate.
“Inspired by childhood memories, peanut butter ganache reveals its rounded flavour accompanied by a soft toffee covered in milk chocolate. A tip of the hat to America and a fusion of two cultures.”
Joost Arijs, Belgium
After completing his pâtisserie training in Bruges, Joost Arijs worked for several well-known pastry chefs and became Chef Patissier at the three-star Michelin restaurant, “Hof van Cleve.” Since 2011 Joost Arijs and his girlfriend Elke De Baerdemaeker have successfully run their own patisserie in the heart of Ghent. In 2012 they were awarded the title of “Best Patisserie in Belgium” by Gault & Millau.
For Neuhaus, Joost chose ganache from dark origin chocolate made with 70% cocoa from Ecuador, a crumble of cocoa nibs and a layer of coulis from Indian mangoes.
“In my patisserie I usually work with chocolate as the main ingredient. I love to combine it with the fresh notes of fruit and citrus. By working with different textures you can make a dessert interesting.”
Raphael Giot, Namur, Belgium
This Belgian patissier grew up with a love of fine cakes. After gaining work experience in Paris and New York, in 2009 he won a bronze medal during the “Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon. His creations are individual jewels, rightly earning him his nickname of “the goldsmith of pastry.”
Raphael's Neuhaus praline is a decadent blend of slightly salted caramel ‘à l’ancienne’ on a layer of velvety praline enriched with pieces of hazelnuts, enrobed with dark chocolate.
“The two sweet and sugary delights I cherish most, butter caramel and hazelnut praline, are seen to blend inside a dark origine chocolate shell, combined with a shortbread crust. A blend of feelings created especially for Neuhaus.”
Christophe Adam, Paris
Christophe Adam, who achieved fame as creative director at Fauchon, is known for his reinventions of classics such as the Baba au Rhum and the Forêt Noire, and especially his Eclairs.
Christophe's Neuhaus praline combines smooth ganache with Sicilian pistachios and oranges from Valencia, enriched with black raisins from Chile.
“I like combining orange with pistachio for its floral hint. It brings out the natural tang of the nut. This praline blends smoothness and robustness, a match made in heaven that is travelling around the world.”
Martin Chiffers, London
Martin has worked as Executive Pastry Chef in the most prestigious hotels around the world. Since 2012 he has run his own ‘CHIFFERS’ store in the Ginza district of Tokyo. He has collected numerous gold medals and judged at various high profile culinary competitions around the world. He is President of the UK Pastry Team, who won the European Pastry cup in 2012.
Martin created his Nehaus praline using chocolate ganache with rose on a layer of intense praliné à l’ancienne made with hazelnuts and fresh raspberries.
“Inspired by berries and flowers from Cornish gardens, my chocolate encases the sweetness of fresh picked raspberries and floral notes of English roses, with a hint of orange and a delicate crunch of shortbread.”
Bernd Siefert, Michelstadt, Germany
Bernd Siefert is one of world’s best-known European Chefs Patissier. Among his many successes is the title of “Best German Patissier for five years running, Pastry World Champion and “Most Innovative Pastry Chef in the world.”
Smooth chocolate ganache with Chinese jasmine tea on a thin layer of crunchy praline with ginger enrobed with milk chocolate form Bernd's Neuhaus praline.
“For this praline, which I named “Chinese Girls,” I was inspired by the floral aroma of jasmine. Combined with the gentle bitterness of green tea and the spiciness of candied ginger, this surprising blend of flavours is a perfect match with milk chocolate.”
Oriol Balaguer, Barcelona & Madrid
Oriol Balaguer inherited his passion for pastry from his father. In 2002 he opened the first pastry studio in Spain. He has received several awards for his work, including “Best Dessert in the World” and “Best Patissier" in Spain in 1993.
Chef Balaguer's Neuhaus praline is a party in your mouth made from crispy praline with popping sugar on a layer of praline with passion fruit and Piedmonts hazelnuts, enrobed with soft milk chocolate.
“I dubbed this praline 'Masceta.' It is inspired by 'La Fallas,' the annual popular celebration in Valencia. The popping sugar represents the crackling fireworks.”
Louie Ye, Shanghai
Chef Louie Ye is the Pastry Chef of the world’s highest hotel, Park Hyatt Shanghai. His innovation, inspiration and creativity make him one of the most dazzling stars in gastronomy. Since 2001, Ye has won many world-renowned awards; he represented China in the “World Pastry Championships” in 2012 and received the honor of placing sixth.
Chef Louie Ye's praline is crafted with caramel ‘à l’ancienne’ with a hint of salt combined with dark origin chocolate made with 70% cocoa from Ecuador, enrobed with intense dark chocolate.
“Asian cuisine often combines sweet and savory flavors. A sprinkle of sea salt in a slightly bitter caramel triggers the taste buds and enhances the intense taste of dark chocolate.”
Koji Tsuchiya, Tokyo, Japan
Chef Tsuchiya has spent three decades traveling the world serving internships with many renowned Pastry Chefs and successfully entering prestigious competitions, including the reputable “Charles Proust” in Paris and the “Mandarine Napoleon” in Tokyo. Since 1999, and alongside five luxury boutiques, he has also been running "Théobroma,” his very own Chocolate Museum in the heart of Tokyo.
For Neuhaus, Chef Tsuchiva's chose dark origin chocolate ganache made with 70% cocoa from Ecuador on a layer of fruit coulis made with Japanese yuzu; an Asian citrus fruit.
“My inspiration is the wonderful aroma of yuzu, a well-known citrus fruit in Japanese cuisine. To me, this chocolate features a perfect marriage between the bitter intense taste of dark chocolate and the subtle yet refreshing acidity of yuzu.”
This holiday season, treat the chocolate lovers on your shopping list (and yourself) to a taste of the world. The Neuhaus “Haute Patisserie" collection is beautifully presented in a luxurious gift case containing 27 special pralines (three from each chef), costs $45 and is available in all Neuhaus shops and online at www.neuhauschocolates.com