A Night With Madame Chocolat

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending industry night at Madame Chocolat in Beverly Hills. It was a chocoholic's dream come true: a wine and chocolate pairing in celebration of National Chocolate Week. That's right, Chocolate Week. Our great country has an entire week dedicated to all things chocolate so naturally, it was a perfect opportunity to taste some of the best.

In my opinion, some of the best chocolate happens to come from legendary chocolatier, Jacque Torres. He works his magic from a larger-than-life chocolate headquarters in Manhattan, making everything from decadent truffles to chocolate-covered Easter peeps to chocolate-covered corn flakes. Considering that it's hard for me to get to New York, I go for the next best thing: Madame Chocolat from chocolatier Hasty Torres. Sound familiar? It should, as the San Gabriel Valley native is Jacque Torres' wife. She's also a USC graduate (go Trojans!) and one of the friendliest foodie folk I've met. To say she's passionate about her craft is a serious understatement because quite simply, Hasty was put on this earth to make chocolate. Her workshop/chocolate shop is the definition of a family affair, as it's run by Hasty with help from her parents; also wonderfully down-to-earth people dedicated to seeing their daughter's dream come true.

Hasty Torres, aka Madame Chocolat, in her shop

Hasty's talent is apparent; after training at Pasadena's Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and working with Jacque Torres, her extensive knowledge of chocolate is nearly foolproof. Her ingredients are sourced from Belgium, a Mecca for some of the world's best chocolate. All tempering, molding and design is done in-house by Hasty herself, as was the overall design of her shop. Mimicking a traditional French chocolatier, Madame Chocolat's warm, welcoming chocolate shop is painted with five light shades of green and shimmering cream. The contrast between the front of house and the workshop is stark (and purposeful), with the workshop filled with precise instruments meant to produce high-quality, first-class chocolates: stainless steel tables, tempering machines and racks and racks of molding trays.

Hasty's front of house, chocolate display, workshop and dark/milk chocolate tempering stations

Turns out you can cover anything in chocolate: rice krispie treats, peeps, cookies and marshmallows (s'mores!)

Back to chocolate night. We tasted five different types of chocolate, each paired with a wine. White chocolate with chardonnay, a raspberry-filled chocolate with pinot noir, caramel-filled chocolate with merlot, dark chocolate squares with dried fruit and roasted almonds with cabernet and finally, decadent dark chocolate truffles also with cabernet. My details about the final few wine pairings are admittedly fuzzy, as the wine and chocolate tasting became more like a wine and chocolate party. Hasty and her family undoubtedly know how to have a good time, gathering their guests around the workshop's stainless steel tables and liberally passing trays of chocolate and bottles of wine. It was a true extravaganza.

White chocolate with Madame Chocolate's signature logo

Raspberry-filled milk chocolates

Caramel-filled milk chocolates

Dark chocolate with almonds, pistachios & dried fruit

Madame Chocolate's classic dark truffles

Oops! This is what happens when you mix too much wine with chocolate. Literally.


  1. Sounds like a fantastic evening. I started my chocolate celebration a bit early (last week)at a Paris chocolate house. I guess I now have license to continue the party.

  2. My stomach hurt just from looking at all the pretty pictures. This is going to be an LAW write-up as well, yes?

  3. MMB: Definitely continue the party! It was a very fun night all-around! Met some great people and ate more chocolate than I ever have...in.my.life.

    Hi Tony! No LAW posting for this one. Ethics, you know. :)

  4. What a decadent evening! It all looks so mouth-watering. You are a lucky girl :)


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