Question: When I meet with colleagues at conferences out of town, it has become my custom to hand out locally made sweets as kind of an icebreaker, a custom which I’m sure is much appreciated. But I’m getting kind of tired of relying on See’s candy, which is pretty much available everywhere now, and I have been finding that the chocolates at Boule are prettier than they are good, and quite dear to boot. What do you suggest?
—Wallace, Santa Monica
Answer: If locally made chocolates are what you have in mind, my first suggestion would be Jin, on Abbot Kinney in Venice. The chocolates are not inexpensive, but are beautifully made, practically explode with wabi sabi, and are flavored with exotic essences of flowers, spices and rare teas. When investment bankers and airline stewardesses dream of chucking it all to become candy artisans, this is the chocolate they dream of making.
But Jin’s chocolates are delicate creatures, and don’t always travel particularly well. Which is why it is good to keep the supple caramels from Little Flower Candy Co. in mind, especially the caramels made with French sea salt from the Guerande, which dissolve into pure, buttery clouds of flavor. Amazing stuff. I suspect Little Flower’s auteur, Christine Moore, has never quite forgiven me for the jokes I made at the expense of her asparagus ice cream when she was the pastry chef at Les Deux Cafe a decade ago, but on the evidence of her cinnamon marshmallows, her lemon caramels, and the divine, autumn-only pecan caramels, which should be available any day now, she has become one of the most interesting candy makers in Los Angeles. You can find Little Flower candies at Susina, Euro Pane, Clementine and Cheese Store of Silverlake, among other places, or you can order them at www.littleflowercandyco.com. Susina, 7122 Beverly Blvd., Hollywood, (323) 934-7900; Euro Pane, 950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 577-1828; Clementine, 1751 Ensley Ave., L.A., (310) 552-1080; Cheese Store of Silverlake, 3926-28 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 644-7522.
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