A Celebration of Sweetness

“Dulce de leche, a celebration of sweetness with milk-chocolate and caramel; chili which left the spiciness lingering on the tongue; cream and sourish passion fruit coated in white chocolate…” Michal Zamrany savored the pralines of Trinidad, a chocolate boutique in Tel Aviv.

Although we are a small nation surrounded by enemies, I subscribe to the school of thought that states that when there is something to celebrate – the matter should be attended to with the seriousness it deserves. So, for example, when the boyfriend called me this week and told me with pride that he got a job which, although not highly rewarding financially, would be a good one to list on the r?sum?, I immediately proposed going out to properly celebrate. Sadly, the man declined. No less than three work-related items awaited him on the computer, destined to keep him awake for many hours. So I found myself scouring Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv, searching for a way to celebrate with my man without dragging him out of the house. As I contemplated this, I passed the shop window of Trinidad and continued onwards, only to quickly turn around and give the window a better look. The solution, it seemed, was right under my nose.

Trinidad is a chocolate boutique which opened in Tel Aviv around a year ago. The people behind the undertaking, Amezia and Ruthy Ben-Eliezer are two retirees – he a former engineer, she a graphic artist – who were looking for an endeavor which would keep them both involved during their pension years. The journey to the pralines started when Ruthy discovered an article in the paper, which sparked memories of long ago. Thirty years before, she walked among the chocolate boutiques In Paris, smelled, tasted, and promised herself that she would give it a try one day. Once the concept was decided upon, it was Amezia who led the way, with the resolve of an inexperienced high-tech man. They found a teacher – master chef Micha Gintar – studied in Belgium, created a collection of around 50 pralines, and in May of 2005, they opened their little chocolate factory in Haifa’s Castra mall, which is also the home of Trinidad’s company store, Chocotop. In addition, they searched for a place in central Tel Aviv, finally finding the current location, on 90 Ibn Gvirol Street, renovating it, and marking it with the Trinidad logo. The name of shop is derived from the name of a Caribbean Island in which one of the finest cocoa beans in the world grows – the Trinitario. The entire d?cor is inspired by a log of a journey to the remote location. The boxes of chocolate pralines – all three sizes – are designed to look like paper out of a journey’s log, adorned with pictures of animals of the island. The Trinitario beans, which have a unique taste, are used here to create the chocolate confections, as well as some of the pralines.

I am told all of this by Amezia, as I wander about the store, greatly impressed by the designs and unique flavors, which I periodically sample: a praline with creamed walnuts, which was sweet and melted in the mouth; A cherry dipped in alcohol and coated in smooth chocolate, and which upon being bitten, cracks and oozes sherry; Nutella, containing 100% homemade nut puree, with the flavor of the famous chocolate spread, only far better; pistachio marzipan, complemented by sprinkles of caramelized pistachios; hazelnut croquant almonds, which is a wonderful praline, which includes caramelized hazelnuts and almonds; and one truffle of croquant encrusted dulce de leche, which melts in one’s mouth, leaving nothing but dazed happiness. “We do not use preservatives nor food coloring.” Explains Iris Bloch, the chocolatier and person in charge of production, who is also Ruthy’s daughter and who, like her mother, was lovingly swept into this sweet world and the creative process it entails. “Everything is made of fresh ingredients. The chocolate is by Valrhona – the number one company for importing chocolate ingredients. The nut puree is made from 100% nuts. We do not compromise.”

In addition to pralines and truffles, Trinidad offers 105-gram bars of chocolate and 30-gram tablets of chocolate, bitter or milk, within the 40% - 90% cocoa range. Also served, are special beverages: coffee, mocha,