Hmmm, chocolate. And not just any chocolate – fine chocolate. I am privileged to share a guest food review post by I-Chun Liu, who is keen to share her experiences of Yu Chocolatier. Read. Drool. Enjoy.
“Life is short. Eat dessert first.” pretty much sums up my obsession with sweets. Even so, as a health conscious eater, I do apply another rule, exhorted by renowned Singaporean food blogger, Dr Leslie Tay: “Don’t waste calories on bad food.” This ensures that I eat only the best, which, hopefully, is worth the price I pay for the increased calories and blood glucose level.
After living in Taipei for almost 10 years and thoroughly surveying the dessert scene, I heartily recommend fellow dessert lovers to check out Yu Chocolatier (opened in 2015). To me, Yu’s creations are a cut above the rest in terms of taste, texture and freshness. Freshness is often lacking in some of the big names here, serving customers dessert out of cold storage rather than fresh from the kitchen. I have encountered rancid nuts, ganache glaze which has lost its sheen, macaron that is hard and dry, lemon tarts that have a stinky egg taste and tart shells that have gone soft. Yu Chocolatier has none of these problems as all the pastries are made daily. Chocolate ganache and lemon curd fillings are piped into tart shells in three batches throughout the day to make sure that the tarts maintain optimal crispness.
An artisan chocolatier trained in Ferrandi, Paris, the perfectionistic and diligent Yu uses up to five couverture chocolate brands and would often blend several single origin chocolate to achieve greater balance and sophistication.
I love his “Black Forest” (served in a glass): Crème Chantilly and chocolate mousse over liquored cherries in chocolate cake. It is delicious yet light, without the nauseating chemical taste associated with cherry essence. Other favourite items include the “Alsace Forest” raspberry chocolate mousse choux pastry, using Valrhona’s Manjari chocolate laced with kirsch, and chocolate tarts (eight varieties in all, using single origin chocolate from Valrhona, Chocolaterie de l’Opéra and Marou). Be sure to try Yu’s “Breath of Java” chocolate tart which has the smokiness of dried longan inherent in Chocolaterie de l’Opéra’s single origin chocolate.
Clockwise from left: Passion fruit chocolate cake, Black Forest, Chocolate Tart, Lemon Tart
The passion fruit chocolate cake (passion fruit milk chocolate mousse, chocolate genoise, passion fruit gelée, grappa ginger ganache and hazelnut praline crunch) and lemon-basil tart are delightful, as are the chef’s select Chinese teas and seasonal hot chocolate made à la minute (dark chocolate slowly melted in milk, not made from cocoa powder). The current “winter” hot chocolate uses Michel Cluizel’s São Tomé chocolate which is rich, elegant and sweet, a perfect antidote to the winter chills.
Strawberries are currently in season. Yu procures them from an organic farm in Miaoli which only supplies strawberries that meet his exacting standard. These top-grade organic strawberries have a good balance of natural sweetness and sourness. Nestled on a layer of pastry cream infused with Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla beans with a dollop of homemade strawberry jam, this strawberry tart clearly stands out among the competition. (Tip: call to check for availability)
Another plus about Yu’s dessert is that they contain just the right amount of sugar, fresh cream and butter, so one can enjoy several cakes without feeling bloated or guilt-ridden. Having two pastries at one go is quite doable as they are not very big.
Even the chocolate Madeleine is the best I’ve had so far, using A.O.P. Lescure French butter, with a piece of milk chocolate embedded. Although the dessert selection may appear rather limited, with just five to six items (NT$140-NT$210) offered per day and 11 handmade chocolate bon bons (NT$85 each), they are of very high quality. I highly recommend the “Cognac” and “Basil-lemon” chocolate bon bons.
Owner-chef Yu is fluent in English and is happy to explain more about his creations. The chic space provides only eight seats, so a reservation is recommended.
As far as this self-professed dessert queen is concerned, Yu Chocolatier is world-class, and is on par with the best in Japan and Singapore, where I come from.
Address: No. 10, Alley 3, Lane 112, Sec. 4, Ren’ai Road, Taipei台北市大安區仁愛路4段112巷3弄10號
Tel: (02) 2701-0792
Open: 12-8pm, close on Tuesdays
Note: Cash only, no service charge. There is a minimum spend of NT$200 per head during weekends and public holidays
TVBS interview with owner-chef of Yu Chocolatier (Chinese): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQWaV1bRR1k