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Friday, April 8, 2011
Las Vegas Chocolate Part 1 - Jean Philippe Patisserie
Making the trip to Vegas was worthwhile for a chocolate junkie like me thanks to the Jean-Philippe Patisserie in the Bellagio hotel & casino. A "world- renowned pastry chef", Jean-Philippe Maury grew up in the south of France, and has recently opened his patisserie with an impressive array of desserts, crepes, chocolates and pastries. In fact, the taste of the desserts was so impressive that my husband and I went back for a second tasting!
The Patisserie boasts the largest chocolate fountain in the world, I believe about 27 feet high and highlights cascading milk, white and dark chocolate. The milk chocolate was more tan-coloured than chocolaty-looking; I thought at first that it was white chocolate that has been tinted with a little milk chocolate. But either way, it is impressive that they can keep that amount of chocolate continuously running and presumably in temper the whole time.
As I mentioned above, the menu was vast and delicious looking; I had trouble deciding what to taste and how much to spend. There were truffles, which I decided not to try (although I'm not sure why I made that decision), but instead picked up an expensive caramel-filled dark chocolate bar and some hot chocolate mix (which I will save for one of my "Sipping Sunday" reviews). My husband and I also decided to try two decadent cakes. Being a pastry creator myself, it is always good to try other pastry chef's desserts to learn what else is out there and how much better I can make mine. And I learned a lot from a simple tasting of Jean-Philippe`s cakes! My husband selected the triple chocolate cheesecake, which I enthusiastically tasted. It was the smoothest and most indulgent cheesecake I have ever eaten! In fact, two close friends also tasted it and all four of us agreed it was the best cheesecake any of us had ever tried. I also tried a dark chocolate mousse cake, which was nearly as dense as a chocolate truffle and very rich. It was just the type of cake that I, as a lover of dark chocolate and decadent desserts, would like. The desserts were $6.50 each and worth every penny. In fact, I might have paid more for that cheesecake!
The chocolate bar, which was simply labelled as `Dark Valrhona Chocolate 66% With Caramel Filling` was very good, but different than your average caramel-filled chocolate bar. I just tried it a few hours ago and it was quite appropriate for a morning snack because it is not at all sweet. The caramel is not sweet, in fact it is a bit salted I believe (the ingredients list only what is in the chocolate, not the caramel filling, funny...) and the chocolate tastes very bitter, almost a little more bitter than some of the Valrhona chocolate that I`ve tasted. So if you are not into sweet desserts, but rather savoury and salted caramel, then this bar is for you! Also, if you are into single-origin bitter chocolate, you will probably also like this chocolate bar. I liked it and the combination in my mouth was smooth, slightly creamy and bitter with a coffee-like after-taste. Be warned though - it was $9.50 for a 3 oz (100 gram) chocolate bar!
Overall, my experience at the Jean Philippe Patisserie was the best part. By staying at the Paris Las Vegas, we were trying to recreate a few of the memories of living in France, however, the Jean Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio brought back many more memories for me than Paris Las Vegas` restaurants, pattiserie and boulangerie did. The croissants fell short at the Paris Las Vegas, as did the savoury crepes which were made with white flour instead of buckwheat as they are in France. At Jean Philippe Patisserie however, the savoury crepes were made with the correct flour and looked wonderful, and the pastries looked divine. In fact, I think it would make more sense if the Paris Las Vegas housed the Jean-Philippe Patisserie, but I suppose that since the Bellagio made Jean Philippe their Executive Pastry Chef, it sort of gave them the rights to house his patisserie at their hotel and casino. Comparatively, Jean Philippe's pattiserie and his products were more French than any of the cafe's and Boulangerie's at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. So if you are looking for a real French experience while in Vegas, head over to the Bellagio and have a savoury crepe or pastry. There is also a second Jean-Philippe Patisserie at Aria Las Vegas on their casino level open daily 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For more information, check the Jean Philippe website at: http://www.jpchocolates.com/.
I really enjoyed the chocolate mousse at Jean Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio in Las Vegas!