Eat your heart out

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

in Kun­ming and Dali in Yun­nan prov­ince.

“Hand­made choco­lates are very healthy, be­cause they have few chem­i­cal ad­di­tives. I love them and eat them ev­ery day,” says the chef, who re­mains fit and trim.

“But just like Ja­panese peo­ple used to be, most Chi­nese know lit­tle about hand­made choco­late, and have had lit­tle ac­cess to this food.”

Sugita says he came to Bei­jing be­cause he be­lieves peo­ple in the cap­i­tal are more open-minded.

The shop’s choco­lates hit the palate with an ini­tial sweet­ness, be­com­ing com­plex as the taste buds pick up a hint of bit­ter­ness. They are most de­li­cious when eaten slightly chilled, the chef sug­gests, though one popular con­fec­tion, the choco­late truf­fles, are best at room tem­per­a­ture.

The truf­fles are shaped into small ir­reg­u­lar mounds that re­sem­ble mush­rooms. The tex­ture and taste changes from a crumbly out­side coat­ing to a gooey cen­ter (made with an ex­pen­sive brandy).

Un­like ma­chine-made choco­lates, the­hand­made­cre­ations have only three in­gre­di­ents: ground co­coa beans, sugar and lecithin, which acts as an emul­si­fier. Mass-pro­duced choco­lates are of­ten “en­hanced” with other in­gre­di­ents to boost preser­va­tion and fla­vor, in­clud­ing milk, oils, fats and chem­i­cal ad­di­tives, ac­cord­ing to Sugita.

An or­ange-peel choco­late in the shop costs 10 yuan ($1.60), and the truf­fles also cost 10 yuan each. Raw choco­late costs 48 yuan for an 80-gram pack­age.

Through Feb 15, cus­tomers will get a tiny pair of choco­late high-heel shoes at the shop to cel­e­brate Valen­tine’s Day. Con­tact the writer at li­uzhi­hua@ chi­nadaily.com.cn Mike Peters con­trib­uted to this story.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Top and be­low: Ja­panese choco­late mas­ter Sugita Tsyguo’s hand­made ar­ti­san choco­lates and cakes.

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