Byrne and Carlson Palets des Fleurs
Byrne & Carlson opened up its doors 14 years ago (1999) in a historic brick building on State Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, just a few blocks from the Memorial Bridge (the bridge that separates New Hampshire from Maine). The company was founded with a commitment to make chocolate and confections in small batches by hand using only the finest ingredients.
Starting with chocolate made of cocoa beans from Central and South America, Madagascar, the Dominican Republic, and West Africa, Byrne & Carlson adds Australian glacé fruit, Italian hazelnut paste, roasted in-house nuts, local cream, and mint from their garden to make bars, truffles, jellies, assorted chocolates, and my personal favorite: Palets des Fleurs.
Palets des Fleurs are Belgian semi-sweet chocolate disks decorated with dried cherries and cranberries, candied orange peel, and candied violets. The first time I tasted these heavenly disks, I was in Portland, Oregon at a chocolate shop that specialized in carrying more than a hundred brands of chocolate (my idea of nirvana). The beautiful packaging of the Palets des Fleurs certainly caught my attention but the dark disks with the candied fruit and flowers are what really attracted me. Made of cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla, dried cranberries, candied orange peel, and candied violets, Palets des Fleurs are a scrumptious combination of rich dark chocolate and naturally sweetened dried fruit and flowers.
One bite and I had to find out how to get more. The label told me the chocolates were made by Byrne & Carlson so I went to the company website and knew this was a chocolatier more focused on creating great chocolate than technology when I learned I had to send an e-mail or call them directly to place an order. Not easily discouraged, I picked up the phone but encountered busy signals so I resorted to e-mail to place an order.
The Palets de Fleurs come in an 8 ounce round gift box that sells for $20. For more information, see the company website: www.byrneandcarlson.com. To place an order, call 888-559-9778 or e-mail order@byrneandcarlson.