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Share & Compare: Chocolate

Chocolate is the ultimate feel-good food. A single bite can release chemicals in your brain that mimic the feeling of falling in love, reduce your stress level and act as an anti-depressant. Reaping chocolate’s health benefits requires high-quality dark chocolate, and luckily Shanghai has seen a recent influx of top-notch chocolatiers touting their sweet superiority. At TALK, we loosened our belts, sampled the city’s finest cacao products and fell in love with a truffle.

Café Godiva

The Belgian chocolate brand’s China market entry grew cheers from chocoholics around the country last year, and their recently opened Café Godiva allows Shanghai’s denizens to indulge their sweet tooth alongside a glass of wine or rich hot chocolate. They offer 16 varieties of truffle, including a truffle soufflé chocolat made of gooey dark chocolate mousse wrapped in a thick dark chocolate shell that gives easily under a gentle bite, but disappointed with a saccharine aftertaste.

Cost: RMB 21 per truffle or RMB 100 for five.

Shop 106, Lane 123, 5 Xingye Lu, Xintiandi. Tel: 189 3062 8426


Owned by Brian Tan, Shanghai’s very own Willy Wonka, a trip to hoF makes chocolate addicts feel like a kid in a candy store. The signature truffles are handmade daily with 72% Venezualan chocolate and cream, not fat, for a rich bite that tops out at an unbelievable 50 calories. The fresh artisanal truffles come in four varieties, including a spectacular grand cru and an equally impressive jasmine-infused option. With a supple outer shell and a sinfully soft ganache center, biting into a hoF truffle is heaven.

Cost: RMB 13 per truffle or RMB 128 for a box of nine

hoF Bar & Brasserie: DBS Tower, 1318 Lujiazui Huan Lu, near Dongyuan Lu. Tel: 5010-0800. hoF Boutique: Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu. Tel: 6289 8171. hoF Desserts: 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Lu. Tel: 6093 2058

Jean Paul Hevin

The French confectioner’s first China store was still in soft opening when we visited, but since the chocolates are all imported from its headquarters in France, we don’t expect the quality to change after its grand opening in mid-March. We sampled the award-winning Caraibe, Hevin’s signature ganache that took home the gold at the 2002 Salon du Chocolat. Slightly bitter with a hint of honey, the tiny square was tasty, but the grainy texture indicated a high sugar content and the not-so-creamy center left us wanting.

Cost: RMB 20 per piece or RMB 248 for a gift box of 10

Winner: hoF

Global brands and their imported chocolates just can’t compete with hoF’s freshly made products. Biting into the yielding, mellow truffle is like eating chocolate for the first time. Once you’ve had a taste, you can never go back to the industrially-made brands; luckily, with hoF’s three locations around town and their obscenely affordable prices, you won’t have to. 


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