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Scenes from the 2009 L.A. Luxury Chocolate Salon

October 12, 2009 | 11:30 am

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Imagine being marched into a Baskin-Robbins and being forced to try all 31 flavors in succession. No matter how much you love ice cream, it would lose its appeal after a while. I had a similar problem at yesterday's Luxury Chocolate Salon.

Thirty-five confectioners and chocolatiers descended on the Pasadena Convention Center, peddling an esoteric array of chocolates flavored with chevre, durian, lavender, gingergrass and more. Novelty frequently trumped quality, but the occasional confection managed to excel on both counts. If you fondly remember Ants On A Log, the childhood snack made with celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins, you'll be amazed how Neapolitan Printing & Co. has managed to balance all of those flavors -- including subtle undertones of celery -- in their Ants On A Log truffle. The celery and chocolate combo might not sound appealing, but Neapolitan somehow makes it work.

Still, I have to agree with the friend who said the water cooler ended up being her favorite station. No matter how much one loves chocolate or how delicious the chocolate is, it takes a strong stomach to power through all those truffles, cacao nibs and chocolate bars. And it's nearly impossible to eat your money's worth at the Chocolate Salon before feeling like you need to stop. But, oh, what sweet torment!

[Pictures after the jump.]

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--Elina Shatkin

Photos: Rob Takata / For The Times

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