Having friends in Paris is a real blessing. They bring such lovely gifts:
If you remember when I went to Paris, I stopped by both Michel Cluizel and Chapon. I had already been a big fan of Cluizel, as they have an NYC store. I'd been going there most especially for their 99% dark chocolate bonbon since its old days inside ABC Carpet -- it has since moved to the vicinity of Rockefeller Center. Chapon, on the other hand, is basically impossible to get in NYC. They don't even deliver to America, as far as I can tell. But Chapon was my #1 favorite chocolatier in all of Paris, when I visited.
Anyways, here are two things I had not tried before. 99% chocolate bars are intense, no matter who you are, and the Cluizel version was not quite an exception. But I will say that it was more palatable than most, and I definitely enjoyed it. This is what they use to cover their 99% bonbon, so it was fun eating it in isolation.
The Chapon bar -- first of all -- was beautiful (like all their bars). This was of Cuban origin, which is somewhat harder-to-find. I am continually impressed by Chapon's ability to make all of their bars both interesting and delicious. As many of you know, I can get skeptical of "interesting" flavors in chocolate, because I just want things to taste like chocolate, but Chapon knows how to get interesting flavors without compromising chocolatey-ness. Another really great bar.
Bottom Line: Start making friends who live in Paris.