Thursday, October 11, 2012

Monsieur Truffe vs L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe

Monsieur Truffe 
L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe

Monsieur Truffe

Address: 90 Smith Street Collingwood, VIC 3066

Phone: (03) 9416 3101 

Monday to Friday, 8am until 5pm 
Saturday 8.30am until 5pm 
Sunday 9.30am until 5pm

L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe

Address: 351 Lygon St Brunswick East, VIC 3057

Phone: (03) 9380 4915 

Monday to Thursday, 8am until 4.30pm 
Friday 8am until 5.30pm 
Weekends 8.30am until 5.30pm 

I really wanted to love Monsieur Truffe; I swear I did. I adore my chocolate and indulge perhaps a little too regularly, which is why I was excited to finally check out their little shop on Smith street. We visited, we snacked, we slurped… but unfortunately, it just wasn’t love. That being said, we adored L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe, but more on that later.

Let’s start with the positives at Monsieur Truffe. The cosy interior saved the day. The space feels like a mixture between someone’s living room, a pantry and a storehouse. Warm wooden finishes complement the green walls and ferns. A picture of a forest takes up a significant portion of the feature wall. World maps are peppered around the room. Delicate floral teapots are presented for sale, and cocoa bean shells are reminiscent of show-and-tell back in the days of primary school. 

Before I delve any further I want to make something clear: Monsieur Truffe knows chocolate. Their chocolate is divine. Shelves are heaving with bars from light to dark. Their cocoa is sourced from all over the world — Ghana, Uganda, Dominican Republic — and ranges in percentage to suit everyone’s taste. Their truffles are rich and should be reserved for the gods. Their chocolate disks sprinkled with goji berries and slithered almonds and their choc-nut clusters look heavenly. But for some reason, Monsieur Truffe was having a seriously off day when I visited. 

I had long been looking forward to try what everyone seems to dub ‘the best hot chocolate in Melbourne’. I couldn’t decide which cocoa percentage to order, so I opted for the tasting plate. It arrived in adorable, green china with a wooden paddle. We sampled the House blend (70%), Ecuador blend (74%) and the darker, African blend (85%). They were lukewarm. It murdered the experience. I regret not asking for them to be remade, but sometimes one just isn’t in the mood to be disagreeable. Call me stubborn, but this was one of those times. If I had to choose a favourite, it would be the Ecuador blend. The house blend was a little too sweet and the African blend a little too bitter for my personal tastes. The Ecuador blend was just right, temperature aside (Goldilocks much?). 

We didn’t finish the selection of hot chocolates. I longed for the strong, smooth latte ordered by another member of our party. 

As for the pastries, the pain au chocolat raised the standard. It was warm and flaky, with the chocolate centre barely melted inside, and it came from La Tropezienne in Hawthorn. 

The cake (date and orange) and muffin (berry and white chocolate, from memory) paled in comparison to the buttery pastry.

I’ll have to give Monsieur Truffe another go, as I simply can't fathom how all the reports I’ve received are so positive compared to our less than enjoyable visit. Hopefully it was an unfortunate one off.

Irrespective of everything else, I did rather enjoy the giant chocolate coq.

Monsieur Truffe on Urbanspoon

Since popping in to Monsieur Truffe, I have been to their other store in Brunswick for lunch, L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe. It is seriously good. I ordered the toasted bagel with salt beef brisket, mustard and dill cucumbers. The soft bagel had a huge, tender chunk of meat in it, which was up there with the best I have tasted. The hot chocolate, this time a singular 70% house blend variety, made up for the average experience at Monsieur Truffe; perfection in a cup.

My advice? Skip Monsieur Truffe and head straight for L'atelier de Monsieur Truffe.

L'atelier by Monsieur Truffe on Urbanspoon

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