No Chocopologies Here
House of Knipschildt/Knipschildt Chocolatier/Chocopologie Cafe, Norwalk
June 13, 2009
Fritz Knipchildt’s chocolate ventures have gone through a myriad of changes over the years and now, in 2020, the business is called The House of Knipschildt. An outpost in New Haven wasn’t open long and the cafe concept in Norwalk was a mess. Through it all, it’s the same guy making chocolate and that’s what matters.
I wrote the below in 2009… before the Connecticut Chocolate Trail existed and back when it was simply “Chocopologie Cafe” selling only chocolate. 2009 was also before I realized I should at least try to take a few decent pictures. I’ll probably revisit in the 2020’s at some point.
The Chocolate Trail folks:
Voted one of the Top Three Chocolates in the World by Gourmet Magazine, Knipschildt Chocolatier’s handcrafted specialties are in high demand. Fritz Knipschildt, Danish born and trained, uses the finest ingredients from around the world to create his chocolate masterpieces. Each piece is made by hand, and tastes as good as they look! To enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the famous sweet treats, as well as taste them for yourself, take a tour through Café Chocopologie, where you can watch the confections made by hand. Then, grab a seat in the dining area for a gourmet meal, finished with a five-piece chocolate sampler, bonfire s’mores, chocolate fondue, crepes or truffle beignets.
That whole “gourmet meal” thing didn’t work. Turns out, people didn’t like paying high-end prices for bad food that takes two hours to serve in a tiny, unkempt cafe.
High-end chocolotiers are a dime a dozen around Connecticut’s yuppie havens. Kent, West Hartford, Bridgewater all have their top notch joints – to name a few. So what makes this one in SoNo (South Norwalk) CTMQ-worthy? For one, it sells the most expensive chocolate treat in the world, which was what drew me here in the first place. But Chocopologie is unique for a couple other reasons as well.
Master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt has built himself a little chocolate empire and the buzz has gone beyond his silly $250 truffle truffle. Our first visit was a bust, as even though it’s billed as a cafe, it doesn’t open until 11 AM and isn’t even open on Mondays or Tuesdays. Needless to say, when Hoang, Damian and I visited at 10 AM one Saturday morning, we were rather disappointed.
We visited before a trip to Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium, which is two blocks away (another huge plus). Flash forward a few weeks and I found myself in SoNo again during an all day trip with CTMQ friends Rob and Yvonne – there are a few other museums mere blocks away as well. So SoNo isn’t only a hip little retail and restaurant district, it’s got museums out the wazoo too. My kind of place.
While the cafe serves more than chocolates, they are certainly the star of the show. In fact, you can “tour” the chocolate-making process via seven antique barn style windows that allow visitors to see every step it takes to make a super expensive piece of chocolate. There wasn’t much going on while we were there, however. Just some guys in hairnets cleaning stuff.
Back at the retail area, we stared long and hard at the variety of chocolates. Knipschildt has become known not only for funky flavor combinations, but for naming them after women. I can’t find an explanation for this quirk, but it is definitely… something he does.
For example, I purchased a Patricia – chocolate with cayenne pepper. Each chocolate is beautifully crafted; each a work of art. Some of the other flavors include Burnt Caramel with Hawaiian Sea Salt (Hannah), Rose Truffle Topped with Rose Petal (Rosa), and Strawberry Lemon-Thyme (Kelly).
Note: Knipschildt was a contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” a show I love, and was the first to get chopped after he mixed some truly goofy flavors together.
I can’t remember what Yvonne had, but I do know hers was packed away in a pretentious little “hand crafted” box with a precious little bag. Really, it’s a bit much.
My favorite part of my Chocopologie experience was that when i paid for my single little Patricia (which was delicious), the woman simple put my change in the tip jar as though there was no other option – like giving it back to me. Welcome to Fairfield County!
But what can you expect from the place that sells a $250 piece of candy? To reitterate:
Looking for the most extravagant chocolate in the world?
Well you’ve found it. Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffe was recognized by Forbes Magazine as the most expensive chocolate in the world.
La Madeline au Truffe starts with a decadent 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, heavy cream, sugar, truffle oil and vanilla as the base for the rich decadent ganache. A rare French Perigord truffle (a rare mushroom) is then surrounded by this rich decadent ganache; it is enrobed in Valrhona dark chocolate and then rolled in fine cocoa powder. The result is pure extravagance! Lying on a bed of sugar pearls in a silver box tied with a ribbon.
People. It’s just chocolate.