If I were ever faced with the situation of having to choose one candy bar for the rest of my life, (“Okay, Clay, Desert Island chocolate time ...”), I would have to say that the line of Barres Infernales from François Pralus would be that choice.
Hands down, no hesitation.
Of course I am trying to bend the rules here because there are five bars in the Barre Infernale line and it would be very difficult for me to choose just one. It's easy for me to narrow the selection to two, however. The Lait (shown above) which has a milk chocolate (Pralus Melissa 45%) and is filled with hazelnut paste and whole hazelnuts; and the Pistache (not shown) which is a dark chocolate shell filled with pistachio paste and whole pistachios. Prices here in the US are high - usually over $15 or even $20 for the Lait and with the Pistache carrying at least a $1 premium. But, calorie for penny, penny for calorie, these are my top picks.
Secret Chocolate Obsessions
When I first started writing for Chocolatier Magazine over 15 years ago, one of the questions I used to ask my interview subjects (well–known pastry chefs and confectioners) was what their secret chocolate obsessions were. They were making world–class desserts and bon bons using high–end couvertures—but when they were really craving chocolate candy, what did they eat. The responses were eye–opening, with one French chef admitting to liking Snickers. (Gasp! Peanuts! A Frenchman?!?)
My secret chocolate obsessions are ones I now indulge only around Halloween. When I had kids who were trick or treating I'd raid their bags to satisfy my hunger. Peanut butter cups. Butterfinger. Almond Joy. All childhood favorites of mine, classics that are still around decades on. Now that my kids are no longer around on Halloween, I rarely indulge. But when I do, it's still in the early days of November. And it's still these three.