Compartes Chocolatier, Just in Time for Valentine's Day

04/06/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Compartes Chocolatier

Anyone who's been following my culinary travails knows that Jonathan and I go way way back. Back when I only knew him as the "chocolate boy" who graced the pages of Los Angeles Magazine, I saw the names of his truffles: Jasmine Tea, Raspberry Rose, Fleur de Sel Caramel and decided, out loud I think, "He must be my friend." So I showed up at his store and kept buying truffles and making small talk until he invited me to a party for his shop. We drank, we chatted, we hung out for real later that week, and now years later I'm the unofficial godmother to his Pomeranian, Samson. Recently Jonathan revamped Compartes' patio to match the beautiful truffles he sells inside, and along with the delicious french press coffee he serves, it's just asking for a book and an empty afternoon to fill.

Though he serves his amazing Love Nuts, dipped fruit, and chocolate bars, it's the truffles he's known for. The truffles are always changing, week to week, so you never know what he's serving up when you enter his shop. I'm pretty sure I've seen a tear shed over passionfruit being out of season, and God knows I gasped a little when I heard smoked sea salt was sold out. Everyone has a favorite: mine is smoked sea salt or candied fennel and I'm pretty sure Jonathan's is the classic dark chocolate ganache or when he's feeling adventurous the mango saffron. His handmade truffles are made with the finest dark chocolate, and are usually filled with a dark chocolate ganache, though he sometimes uses white chocolate for fruit based truffles. What marks most people the first time they bite into one of Jonathan's truffles is how chocolate is the star. They aren't over sugared, they aren't filled with cloying flavors. All of the ingredients are meant to pair with and enhance the chocolate, period. So, if you live in the Los Angeles (or Tokyo) area, stop by Compartes for a coffee and chocolate, but if distance keeps you away, you can always order a box online. Enjoy!

Candied Fennel Seed
PassionfruitShichimi (Japanese Seven Spice)PapayaSmoked Sea Salt
Cup of Coffee
Classic GanacheJasmine TeaMexican Hot Chocolate
Classic Ganache, rolled in cocoa powder

To read more of Claire's articles, check out her blog, The Kitchy Kitchen.