As a rule, I give gifts that I'd like to receive myself. It makes shopping more fun, and if the recipient doesn't like the gift, I can always offer to take it off their hands. That would certainly explain why I'm giving Pralus Crème de Noisette to so many people on my Christmas list.
I first tasted this heavenly product at a food show over the summer, and to put it simply, it rocked my world. The hazelnut-and-chocolate paste, also known as gianduja, is a cousin to Nutella. But to leave the comparison there would be a real disservice to the Pralus version. Whereas Nutella is thick and sugary, the Pralus Crème de Noisette is fluid and saucy, and decidedly adult with deeply roasted nuts and earthy chocolate. If they were characters on Mad Men, Nutella would be one of the faceless secretaries. The Pralus would be office domme Joan Harris.
Francois Pralus is the man behind this Crème de Noisette, and he's something of a superstar in the chocolate world. Unlike the vast majority of his peers, he processes the cacao beans himself, making him one of only three "bean to bar" artisans in France. He takes his craft seriously, and it shows in the end product.
There's one other thing that puts this delicacy over the top. It comes in a tube. That's right: you can squeeze it straight into your mouth, with nary a spoon (or even a finger) to intercede. How awesome is that?
By now, any friends and family who are reading this (hello!) will know what to expect from me this Christmas, and they should also get the hint as to what I want. But just in case, I'll buy an extra tube for myself.