I love chocolate. But, not just any chocolate. There are only a handful of chocolate makers that I patronize. You will never see me eating a Hershey Bar. I am admittedly spoiled when it comes to having had some of the best chocolates in the world and once you have had the very best, it is hard to go back. Where did my chocolate snobbery begin? I still remember it as if it were only yesterday.
As a kid in New York, my friends and I discovered a chocolate maker on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side called Krön Chocolatier. We didn’t know anything about the owners or the company, we only knew that they had the most remarkable chocolates we had ever had. We would save up our money to be able to buy a few of the highly coveted chocolates. Believe me, these chocolates were expensive, but worth every penny. Sometimes, my friend Michelle and I would get their chocolate covered strawberries and wander over towards the East River. We would sit and savor the strawberries and watch the Roosevelt Island Tram go back and forth over the river. Little did we know that Krön was the inventor of chocolate covered strawberries!
I continued to get chocolate from Krön until the mid 80’s. Then somehow they disappeared from the city. Of course there was no internet back then, so finding out what had happened to them was not that easy. Though Krön was no longer in New York, I carried the memory of their chocolates in my heart. Friends who had never had the pleasure of experiencing Krön chocolates would hear me wistfully recall those days and in the telling, I could almost taste those chocolates once again.
Fast forward to the year 2000. On a trip to Beverly Hills, I found myself walking down Little Santa Monica Boulevard and I passed in front of the tiny storefront of a chocolate maker called simply K Chocolatier. The K had un umlaut over it, reminding me of Krön. Curious, I went inside and asked if they were any relation to the Krön Chocolatier of my youth. To my utter delight, I found that K Chocolatier was actually the creation of Diane Krön who had cofounded Krön Chocolatier in New York with her Husband Tom Krön. It was then, after all of those years, that I learned the history of the Krön chocolates I had loved and about the new K Chocolatier which I would love equally.
Tom Krön was the great grandson of the chocolate maker to Emperor Franz Josef of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Tom and his wife Diane opened Krön Chocolatier in New York in 1973, basing their creations on Tom’s great grandfather’s recipes. They quickly become the chocolate supplier to New York’s elite including Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Barbara Walters, Katherine Hepburn and Andy Warhol. They started franchises of the company outside of New York and eventually sold the company in 1983. The Kron family retired from chocolate making and settled in California to raise their family. Yet the family love for chocolate making was too ingrained to stay retired forever. In 2000, Diane Krön opened a store in Beverly Hills and started making a new line of chocolates under the name K Chocolatier.
Diane Krön’s chocolates are modern chocolates with sophisticated recipes based on the Krön family formulations of cocoa powder ratio and viscosity. K Chocolates are made with the finest cocoa beans and roasted using a Hungarian method. But the big difference between these and other chocolates is that they are made using as little sugar as possible. The chocolates are all about intense flavor, not heavy sweetness. These chocolates are also healthier for you, because more cocoa means higher antioxidant capacity.
One of K Chocolatiers most famous and most addictive delights is their truffles. Dusted with unsweetened cocoa, the outer bitter flavor compliments and gives way to the inner intense creamy dark chocolate center with just a hint of rum. This is a bite of pure chocolate heaven. One taste and you will be hooked.
Then there are the Liquors!! A wonderful crisp shell of dark chocolate encapsulates a burst of real alcohol that will assault and delight your mouth. You can choose between Vodka (my fave) or Hiballs.
If you are someone who “sometimes feels like a nut”, the Pecan Biskits will definitely speak to you. Thin crunchy wafers of pure chocolate enrobe toasted, crushed pecans and a touch of salt to heighten the flavor. As Diane Krön says, these are life altering.
Anti-oxidants has become a buzz word and if you want to increase your intake of them, try the pomegranate chocolates. A dark chocolate shell coats an interior of pomegranate made by squeezing the skins and seeds into a gel. The sweet yet tart pomegranate compliments the chocolate perfectly.
You also have to try the K Bears. Crisped rice coated in dark, milk or white chocolate and shaped into little teddy bears deliver a nice contrast of crunch and chocolate. An adorable and flavorful treat, these little bears are sure to please.
Of course these are but a few of the many varieties offered and I assure you that you won’t be disappointed in any of them. When you are in the store, they insist on letting you sample the chocolates. This is a win-win strategy, because you get to experience their chocolates and once you have, you are addicted.
The packaging, all designed by Diane herself, is both innovative and beautiful. The packaging varies from sleek modern designs, to plastic cocktail shakers for the Liqours and all the way to packaging that looks like floral arrangements of roses. All are perfect for giving as gifts, if they can pry them out of your hands!!
I am happy to say that K Chocolatier is expanding. You can now find a store in Malibu!! In late 2009, Elie Krön, the son of Tom and Diane Krön and in charge of company sales since 2007, opened a store in the neighborhood where it all began on the Upper East Side just off Madison. I can now keep my refrigerator stocked no matter which coast I am on. Which makes this K Chocolatier addict very happy!
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