Tuesday, March 25, 2008

glarus chocolatier

I gotta have more cowbell!
(Well, so says Christopher Walken.)

And at this very moment, I am in complete concurrence. We finally made our way over to Glarus Chocolatier in Harbor East for some cocoa therapy. We were happily surprised to find an incredible selection of handmade bars, truffles, dipped chocolates, and barks. Every box of chocolates is wrapped in satiny ribbon, tied off with a tiny cowbell charm, a reference to the owner's Swiss roots.

The creators are husband and wife duo, Ben and Jennifer Hauser, who opened the first Glarus in Timonium in 2004, and their second location downtown just this year. Their focus is on Swiss chocolates, a tradition passed down to Ben through his father. And if you were wondering, Glarus is the name of his father's hometown in Switzerland. You can read about the couple's story here.

We brought home a 10-piece box of confections, as well as a package of the Mocha Cocao Bark. The Dark Rocher is by far my favorite, a cluster of roasted almonds dipped in Swiss dark chocolate. The Hazelnut Truffle and Champagne Truffle come in a close second. The former has a smooth hazelnut cream center, enrobed in milk chocolate and rolled in hazelnuts, and perhaps toffee bits too. The latter reminded me of the chocolates I ate as a child at holidays, the ones with sweet liquor centers. Of all the pieces we got, the one I liked least was the Butter Truffle, white on white chocolate. The cream center was slightly grainy and lacked the milky smooth consistency of good white chocolate. Mr.S raved over the Dark Truffle and the Coffee Truffle. Our box also contained the Rigi Spitz, flavored with whipped ganache and Kirsch, and the Fridolin, with dark chocolate and hazelnut paste.

Hazelnut Truffle

Coming down from my truffle high, I tore into the Bark, two layers of dark and milk chocolate, studded with cocoa nibs and roasted espresso beans. I must admit, it's a worthy competitor to my favorite chocolate bar, the Scharffen Berger Nibby.

Amongst the other sweet offerings, I spied a delectable Blueberry Almond dark chocolate bar, bags of dark and bittersweet chocolate-covered whole almonds, jars of gooey rich chocolate sauce, and mixes for drinking chocolate. Takes my breath away. And all the more reason to return.

I have a sinking suspicion that crafting (and tasting) all that chocolate on a daily basis has made the Hausers sweet and warm people. It was easy striking up a conversation with Ben, and he was so generous as to offer samples of anything we'd be interested in. His passion and love of the craft shines through in the gentle way he handled each confection and spoke of his business. What I found truly unique of Glarus is their mastery not only of high quality Swiss chocolates, but more importantly of play on texture. Good chocolate is good chocolate, sure, but if the consistency and mouth feel are dull, it can be quite disappointing. Hauser has incorporated layer after layer of crunch, smoothness, and richness in every bite, which will keep you surprised and guessing through each chocolatey experience. So as long as the Hausers keep up producing their delicious, uniquely-crafted confections, we will keep coming back for more cowbell.

all done

Glarus Chocolatier

9 West Aylesbury Road
Timonium, MD 21093

644 South Exeter Street
Baltimore, MD 21202


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