My boss loves chocolate. She eats it all the time, everywhere, and keeps stashes hidden in dark corners. A few weeks ago she broke out a special bar as a reward during a piano lesson and got chocolate-y fingerprints all over her piano teacher's beautiful, impeccable antique piano. I doubt either the piano or the teacher will ever recover. She only likes the darkest, bitterest kinds, and we are forever searching for new ones. So far the top favorites are the truffles from La Maison du Chocolat, sent to us by my generous mother after a trip to Paris, and the bittersweet 85% cacao bars from Recchiuti in San Francisco. The latter are the smoothest, richest tasting plain chocolate bars I've ever tried, pure and dark, neither too sweet nor too bitter, a difficult balance to strike. Tonight we went to Trader Joe's after work and came home with armloads of orchids and chocolate. The boss sat in the backseat surrounded by plants and passed me different chocolates to try on the drive home; the Valrhona 85% was tonight's winner. (The Recchiuti remains unbeaten).
A few weeks ago, the boss presented me with a bar of Scharffen Berger 99% cacao unsweetened chocolate. I used it to make chocolate pudding and the pure intensity of it left me practically vibrating for hours afterwards. Definitely not for the faint of heart.