[DFW] Noka Chocolate
Ordinarily, I'm a sucker for gourmet chocolates. Whenever a premium line comes out, I'm picking up a big box to sample. So, when I saw Kim Pierce's DMN writeup on Noka Chocolate (operating out of Plano), I was very interested.
Noka's "philosophy" is that a chocolate should come from a single cacao source, so that one can appreciate the qualities inherent in that region's or plantation's output (terroir). They use organic cream in the ganache for truffles, no preservatives, and no extraneous flavoring elements. Not even vanilla. (Chocolate without vanilla seems questionable. As Brillat-Savarin wrote, "To sugar...and cocoa is joined the delicious aroma of vanilla, and thus is obtained the ne plus ultra to which this preparation can be carried.")
Whether the "single source" approach to cacao holds any water, I can't say. It may just be a gimmick to get people who are used to spending a fortune tasting and musing over the particularities of wines to do the same with chocolate. I'd be interested to find out if there's anything to it. But, at Noka's prices, forget about it.
Their chocolates are presented in stainless steel boxes (oooh, ahhhh!), which undoubtedly contributes to their ridiculous pricing. A stainless steel box of two truffles is $40--$20 per truffle. There is something of a bulk discount, in that you can get a box of 16 for $135--or a mere $8.44 per truffle.
But even for pieces in cardboard boxes (which according to their web site--I kid you not--are "beautifully textured and soft to the touch...[setting] the standard for luxury paper chocolate boxes"), these chocolates are exhorbitant. A box of 8 is $65--$8.13 per truffle. And a box of 16 is $105--$6.56 per truffle.
Maybe these chocolates are worth every penny. But the burden is on Noka to establish that. When I hear knowledgeable chocolate-lovers who (a) spent their own money on some Noka truffles and (b) found that the Noka product was sufficiently better than other premium chocolates to justify the price, maybe I'll pick up a box. Somehow I doubt that will happen.