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La Madeleine au Truffe, just Dh920 for a moment's fleeting and expensive pleasure.
La Madeleine au Truffe, just Dh920 for a moment's fleeting and expensive pleasure.

One small chocolate, just Dh920 a bite

The world's most expensive single chocolate truffle, costing $250 a time, is coming to an outlet in Dubai soon.

With the UAE's penchant for lavish things from the world's tallest tower to a 22 carat gold-flecked hotel, it's appropriate that shoppers here will soon be able to buy the world's most expensive chocolate truffle, at $250 (Dh920) each. Chocopologie, which sells "La Madeline Au Truffe" for $2,600 a pound, plans to open two outlets in the Emirates this year, said Yassine Benali, the general manager of Saveur, which has the franchise rights for the brand. These cafe boutiques are the first Chocopologie outlets other than its flagship in South Norwalk, Connecticut, he said. Mr Benali stumbled upon the brand, the retail arm of Knipschildt Chocolatier, which makes the famed chocolate creations three years ago while searching for the most expensive chocolates in the world to give as a gift. "Whoever ate the chocolate were always talking about it and wanted more, so we thought, 'OK, we should bring it to the UAE'," Mr Benali said. "Dubai is known for extravagant things, from real estate, to cars. There is an extravagant mentality and people are always looking for the best." The two-inch truffles start with a ganache from 71 per cent Ecuadorean dark chocolate mixed with Italian truffle oil and fresh cream which has been infused with vanilla pods for 24 hours. This ganache is wrapped around a French Périgord dark truffle mushroom, dipped in chocolate, then rolled in cocoa powder. These indulgent concoctions and other chocolates sold in the UAE will continue to be made by hand at the Knipschildt chocolatier in Connecticut, and flown overseas, said Fritz Knipschildt, the company's Maître Chocolatier and founder of the brand. "Some companies pick up a concept, then find a manufacturer in that country, and it's never going to be the same," he said."It's not going to happen with our brand." The truffles will be wrapped in the same gold bag in a silk lined box, but with one touch of the Emirates: it will be sitting on a bed of pearls, said Mr Benali. Only 89 have been sold since Knipschildt started making La Madeline two years ago, but Mr Knipschildt expects this number to get a boost with its outlets in the UAE. But for those living a life less extravagant, Chocopologie will also sell chocolates for as low as Dh100 a kilo and the cafe food prices will be on par with other similar chains, said Mr Benali. However, they plan to have "five-star" customer service, such as having staff tracking patrons' preferences. "We will be having the same prices as if you are going to Shakespeare and Co," he said. "People are watching expenses more than three or four years ago, but we will have the same prices with a much better experience." The first outlet is expected to open in Dubai Festival City in July and in Abu Dhabi's Paragon Mall in the first quarter of 2011. aligaya@thenational.ae

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