Pimandes: Chocolate Covered Almonds with Chile

Chocolate-Covered Almonds

I don’t know where they get these, and I don’t really care. But if you stop in da rosa and don’t pick up a bag of them, you’re making a terrible mistake.

These little dusty ovals of chocolate enrobe a Marcona almond tucked in the middle and there’s just a touch for the smoky taste of pimente d’Espelette, the bright-red Basque chili powder that I like to sprinkle over everything from pumpkin purée to chocolate-peanut bark. Once I open the bag of Pimandes, it’s assured that the rest will soon be history.

To be honest, I wanted to show you the inside of one.

Really I did.


But each time I took a bite and grabbed my camera, I couldn’t help myself and popped the other half in my mouth. I don’t know how I’m going to explain to the guys at the camera shop how I got cocoa powder in the focusing ring of my lens. Maybe it’ll be like how I explain to my cleaners why there’s raspberry purée…or lately…bits of sticky caramel on my sheets.

If you do stop in at da rosa, if you don’t get a little sac of the raisins plumped in Sauternes that are dipped in dark chocolate as well, you’re also missing out on one of the world’s great taste-treats. I’d like to describe them better than Dorie Greenspan, but I think she nailed it when she said, “I’d call them Raisinets, but they’re in their own universe of wonderfulness.”

While I’m singing the praises of their chocolate selection, while in the shop, check out their selection of rare chocolates from Amedei, the tins of salted butter caramels from Brittany, and a shelf piled high with all sorts of marmalades and fruity jams from Christine Ferber.

Aside from the terrific selection of acorn-fed Spanish hams (they had four different ones to taste last time I was in there), you can stop by for a glass of sherry or rosé on a sunny afternoon, and let them make you a dégustation from their simple menu. I can’t imagine a better way to while away an afternoon than sitting on their terrace and stuffing my craw with fruity lucques olives, thin slices of lean and nutty lomo, and finishing it all with a little dish of piquant chocolate-dipped almonds.

Okay, and maybe a handful of those raisins too.

In fact, I think I’ll stop in tomorrow since I’ve just about reached the bottom of the bowl. The weather’s been pretty decent…and I need to replenish my stock of Pimandes.

But I’m leaving my camera at home. (Or in the shop.)

da rosa
62, rue de Seine (6th)
Tél: 01 40 51 00 09

20 comments

  • Geez. They look painfully delicious. It’s a torture for me, cause I don’t live in France. I would have to travel all the way from Poland to Paris to get them… But for sure I get them on my next trip to Paris!!!

  • Joanna: Another reason to come to Paris! Folks ask me all the time where else they can get them. As far as I know, I’ve only seen them at da rosa—maybe they’ll open a branch in Poland. : )

  • In general I am an optimist but I don’t think they open up a branch in Poland. But as you say that’s in fact another great excuse and reason to come to Paris again :-)

  • JUst spent 1 month in Paris and I didn’t go to Da Rosa… I am just about to kill myself…But I can tell you I bought a wonderful box of caramels with fleur de sel (at Izrael-where I also bought some piment d’espelette, which seems to be all the rage now) and consequently lost a tooth porcelain. I am not kidding malhereusement. But it was worth it, malgré what the dentist says!!! Now I will have to find a kind soul to bring me some of these Pimandes to Brazil.

  • Those sound heavenly!

    My heart races even more when caramel salé is mentioned- there is a little ice cream maker here in Lyon (Nardone) who has a caramel salé ice cream that is so go it makes you (as we’d say back in Atlanta) want to slap your mama! He also has an assortment of flower flavors as well as OLIVE OIL (which wasn’t anywhere near as unappealing as it sounded).

    I do have a couple of pepper-related questions- I have tried everywhere to find out which pepper “espelette” is and all my dictionaries simply say “un piment fort” or something like that without telling what kind it is…Can you tell me? I wish I knew what the peppers were here that they sell in the summer as “piments”- they look like banana peppers mostly, not too hot. Lastly, have you ever seen fresh jalapenos in France? Thanks!

  • These sound wonderful! Maybe you should start a little business on the side mailing food items to people who live elsewhere. I’m also needing chouquette sugar!

    Eileen@www.livingtastefully.com

  • Piment d’Espelette is now AOC.
    They have a pretty good site if you can read French: pimentdespelette.com

    The type of plant is Capsicum annuum

  • David: Re piment d’Espelette: what am I missing that it doesn’t seem all that great to me? I bought some last time in Paris in a new shop specializing in south-eastern French stuff on blvd. St. Michel but I can’t get all excited about it…..
    Joan in Milan
    PS For Joanna: I was in Lodz last weekend and will be in Paris next weekend – what a pity it’s not the other way round, or I could maybe have brought you some goodies from Da Rosa!!!

  • so not nice! tempting someone all the way in arizona…and not even a photo of the inside.
    humph.

  • Chocolate almonds are the best. I’d have loved to have had the option of these nice ones when I was in Tokyo where they sold them on the metro platforms! Everyone there is much too polite to eat them on the train, it’s not done at all, but I never failed to pick up a box to ration for the day each time I went to the station; nearly every day for a YEAR!

    I’m going to try to make the raisins at home for my mother.

  • chocolate + almonds + chili = droolworthy.

    i’m totally becoming an expat… as soon as those pesky student loans are paid off.

  • Next time you’re in the Bay Area, head to a branch of Peet’s and buy a bag of their Spanish-style almonds that are first coated with a thin layer of salted praline then dipped in several coats of chocolate and finally cocoa powder. Caramel + chocolate + salt + almonds=heaven. A touch of pimente d’Espelette would make them even better. I may have to try to make a version.

    PS I made your caramel ice cream over the weekend. Brilliant, even better than I remembered!

  • David, you’re such a generous man, sharing all the fabulous food of Paris. I’ll be there in a month and I’m adding da Rosa and those almonds and raisins to the list.

  • (Warning: I’m going to try a very old trick and try to flatter you into developing a recipe for us all to try.)

    Why, David, those look delicious! Do you think, in your infinite candy-making wisdom, that you might toy around with making Pimandes at home? And then perhaps post a recipe for all of us to try? After all, you did change our lives with Chocolate-Covered Toffee Matzoh Crunch!

    ;)

  • I really don’t like the sound of these. At all. Nasty. Really.

    GET.ME.SOME!!!

  • David, when I travelled to Paris last year, I went in search of Da Rosa and luckily found it. The only mistake that I made was getting just a single bag each of the almonds and raisins. I remember getting into the cab on the way back to my hotel and barely being able to keep from eating one, or two or three. I looked online the other day to see if they shipped to the States, but unfortunately they do not. I’m glad to see you appreciate them as much as I did when I had the chance.

  • Sticky caramel in the sheets? My, my, my, what have you been up too? ;)

  • Pimandes. David where is a recipe for these chocolate delights? I want to make some.

  • Actually I do have a recipe somewhere for candied nuts enrobed in chocolate (I thought it was in one of my books). But I can’t remember which one it is and couldn’t find it! Sorry… : (

  • I normally have a fair amount of will power when it comes to having goodies in the house with the exception of chocolate covered raisins. Those sound amazing and this year we won’t be traveling to Paris. sigh…