Jean-Paul Hévin is a Master Chocolatier and World Famous for his chocolates. Under the mentorship of chef Joël Robuchon in Paris, JPH received one of the top honors in France for artisan craftsmanship, the title of “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”. I had walked past his counter boutique at Harbour City, countless times yet had never tried his creations. The formidable Mainland Chinese crowds bickering loudly in front of his counter full of delectable goodies (with their luggages in tow) made it rather intimidating for me.
With Mid-Autumn fast approaching (September 16), I saw an advert for Canelés De La Luna, part of his new Mid-Autumn creations to celebrate the festivity.
I love canelés and JPH is creating canelés! Woohoo!
Seems that the stuffy French had caught on with Chinese festivities for a bang in the buck! More appropriately the smell of money really do make the world go round and whatever intolerances nevertheless become slightly more tolerable when $$$ talks. I also remember well when I was in Paris a few years ago, during the Lunar New Year whereby Galleries Lafayette gave an extra 10% discounts to all Chinese customers!
To cut the story short, I steeled myself and literally fought to the front of the counter to be served. JPH sells seriously high-end chocolates. There is a choice of a box of 4 at $398 or a box of 8 at $768. There are only 2 flavours available – citron and bergamot.
I was excited with the waft of heavenly chocolate aroma when I opened the box.
Excitedly, I cut opened one of the Canelés. The excitement was short-lived…
Sure, JPH’s Canelés De La Luna has the right shape of a straight striated cylinder of a Canelés…
Sure the dark glossy chocolate shell has the distinctive hallmark of a Master Chocolatier: Exquisitely thin dark shell, cracking like an egg breaking when I cut it and the fragile chocolate shell literally melting to my touch, unfortunately, I could not discern any hint of citron or bergamot flavours at all – despite me closing my eyes in deep concentration!
I love Canelés but this does not cut it. This is an impostor! I was expecting a deliciously wholesome custardy goodness in a crunchy caramelised shell (possibly drenched in chocolalate).
In my opinion, this is simply a glorified Kellogg’s Rice Krispies! Chocolate was first set in a Canelés mould then filled with ganache mousse in the first layer, followed by rice krispies and nuts in the center, then adding more ganache mousse before sealing the Canelés with chocolate. Yes, each individual piece of rice crispy and nut has been premixed in chocolate and were crunchy and very fresh, but at HKD100 per ‘Canale’!! I think NOT! Anyway, JPH is a chocolatier NOT a pastesserie!
I was disappointed. I was expecting a real Canelés but got a fine impostor instead! I guess I have to travel to Bordeaux for my Canelés fix!