I’m in love with Norman Love – Chocolates
This … my chocolate loving friends is the post you’ve been waiting for. As today, I will introduce you to one of my favourite men of chocolate in all of North America!
On our 2011 trip to Florida, I had one major goal. To meet Norman Love. I’d heard of Norman when I was at the World Chocolate Masters Championships and Salon du Chocolat in Paris in 2009. He is revered by many experts and chocolate lovers as being the finest chocolatiers in the USA.
So we made our way down to Fort Myers Beach with the kind assistance from the folks at the Lee County Convention & Visitors Bureau. I will be forever grateful to them for introducing me to Mr. Norman Love.
the artistry of norman love chocolates
Love is one of those passionate individuals who lives and breathes chocolate. His shop is a mecca for chocolate lovers. I pulled up to the Norman Love Confections shop in Fort Myers, only to find another woman taking a picture of it! I could see myself doing that, for the purposes of Chocolatour, but she was simply a chocolate lover who was documenting her journey to this place of sensual wonders.
You walk in the door to the small shop and you are blown away by colour. The packaging is so beautiful it’s mouth watering! And the display of chocolates and fresh pastries is so enticing, you’ll probably gain a pound or two before you even walk out the door.
But it wasn’t the fanciful packaging or luscious pastries that won my heart. It was Love’s BLACK Collection. A simple black box containing the most elegant and sensuous chocolate I had ever tasted.
Love is a purist in that he tries to keep flavours recognizable. In the BLACK Collection of 2011, I indulged in single-origin chocolate from five of the finest cocoa producing areas on the planet: the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Madagascar. I have been to the DR and Ecuador, but the remainder of the locations share a place at the top of my wish list.
Eating that box of BLACK was one of the most intoxicating chocolate experiences I’ve ever had. In fact, when I was in Fort Myers tasting with Love, I admitted to him that I was getting high. The cocoa is so pure and perfect that someone like me (who is easily swept up in the natural high of dopamine) finds herself giddy like a school girl and lost in the love of chocolate. I think you diehards know what I mean.
Let’s just say I loved each and every piece in that box of BLACK. But to give you a brief synopsis, the Madagascar was my favourite in the 2011 collection. It’s created from 64% cocoa mass produced from trinitario beans (which possess a natural fruity flavour) blended with roasted hazelnuts and a subtle hint of clove and cedar! The Maracaibo Clasificado from Venezuela was my least favourite, but don’t think I didn’t like it. They were all magnificent, and make me wish I lived closer to Fort Myers so that I could be one of the regulars that Love knows by name.
An update to the original post: The 2016 Black Collection contains single origin ganaches from Venezuela (Maracaibo 88% cocoa), Tanzania (75% cocoa), Peru (74% cocoa), St. Dominique (Dominican Republic 70% cocoa), and Nyangbo (Ghana 68% cocoa). Still as beautiful and intoxicating as ever!
And in 2016, Norman Love introduced some delightful new Infusion Chocolate Bars that are worth checking out. I loved the Marcona Almonds and Pine Nuts Bar. Paired with a fine glass of Pinot Noir red wine, it was irresistible!
So all this deliciousness concludes that eating Norman Love Chocolate provides you with the kind of natural high we all seek in the days of our lives. Look for his shops in Fort Myers, Naples, and these additional locations throughout Florida. And if you live in the US, you can order online. Cheers in chocolate love.
Love your enthusiasm for Norman Love’s chocolate! I’m currently in Florida and although I’m nowhere near Ft Meyers, I’ll keep my eyes open for his chocolate when I pop into other regional stores. Sounds yum.
Hi RoseMary. It’s definitely worth looking for. And I see he’s now in a number of Whole Foods locations. Have fun in FLA. 🙂
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…tasting belize-made chocolate–from modern to traditional
Update on Norman Love: He’s just been named a member of the Jury (one of the judges) in the 2011 World Chocolate Masters Championships in Paris, October 19-21, 2011 in Paris. I was at the championships in Paris in 2009, and it was an amazing show. You can read about that and see some pics on my lifestyle blog in this post:
If you ever get a chance to attend this annual event … GO! Lots of chocolate art, chocolate samples and chocolate artistry.
I’d heard of Love chocolates and I was smiling as I was reading this Doreen. It’s been a long time since that chocolate-O! Have you tried See’s chocolates yet originating in California. Dark chocolate California brittle…mmmmmm – my favorite!
Hi Dawn: It made me smile to see your comment. Yes, I remember the pics we took while eating great chocolate last year. It’s a shame you won’t be able to join us this year. I’m bringing some BRIX chocolate from the US and some fine British chocolate for us to share at the PWAC conference in Montreal.
No, I have not yet had See chocolate, but I do have them bookmarked. Will definitely look them up asap.
Wishing you healing thoughts and much more chocolate!
what a dumb time of day to read about the Black collection. Makes my breakfast seem soooo dull and my upcoming lunch even duller.
Will add a visit to Norman Love’s shop when next I am visiting my snowbird sister and brother in-law.
Trust me, Janie. You would absolutely LOVE Norman Love’s chocolates – all of them. But the BLACK collection is the creme de la creme. The ultimate, and yes, a return trip to Fort Myers sounds very good right about now. Especially with it being on 3 degrees c in MB right now!
I wonder if other authors have as much fun as you’re having researching a book?
I haven’t been to this part of Florida, but if we go down next winter I’ll be sure to include a stop in Ft. Meyers and check this place out.
Thanks very much for your comment, Christine.
Yes, I do have a lot of fun researching my work! Sometimes I think I should be doing something deeper (or with more meaning,) but it has always been my place to connect with people, to indulge and share stories about life and pleasure. And chocolate … certainly fits that bill. Enjoy!
Ordered the Black for my lady for V-Day, and she was transformed to another level of chocolate. I cannot wait to go down to the parlor!
You’ll love Normans’s shop, Jon. The colours are just as vibrant and varied as the flavours! Sure wish I lived closer to FLA.
Thanks so much, Judith! Great to have you along on the Chocolatour.
You’re right! The chocolate we get in most commercial establishments barely resembles the “good stuff.” Chocolate lovers have to get out and seek out the very best chocolate in order to really taste what chocolate is in its purest and best form. It’s my pleasure to help get the readers to the right places in their quest.
All the best chocolate has to be sought out and travelled to in order to experience and I envy your chocolate travels here!
I can’t wait for your chocolate adventures book to come out and I know lots of us will be following in your footsteps!
Lucky you, Debbie! I can’t imagine how distracting and alluring that would be. Goodbye waistline!
Doreen…I work next door to the Ft Myers Salon! =) Can you say addicted 😉
Hi Jeanine: Thanks for joining us here on the blog.
Yes, Norman’s chocolates only have a shelf-life of 3 weeks, so I don’t believe he ships them as you can’t guarantee quality on arrival. Only way to expedite delivery and get some of those chocolates would be to pay for UPS/Fed-ex next day delivery and that would make the cost of the already-expensive chocolates sky high!
I’ll be looking to find some amazing chocolate makers in Oregon. If you have any suggestions/favourites, send them my way.
I grew up in Naples, just to the south of Ft Meyers. I can only say that if Norman Love had been in business when I was a teen, I wouldn’t be living in Oregon now. I can’t tell you how sad it makes me, knowing that he won’t even ship me some of his little works of art masquerading as candy until the cold weather returns. Sniffle!
Thanks, Lori. Nice to have you along!
And, Claire. Lucky you for living just 4 hours from Norman Love’s shop. Did you know he has a new shop in Naples, FLA?
We were in For Myers in January of this year, so no, I didn’t see you there in early April.
Buy the biggest box you can afford! That way it will last longer and be enough to share with your chocolate-loving friends and family.
I too have taken that delectable journey to “Norman Love” confections at Ft Myers and I relived it thru your article. It is a true mecca for the gastronomic chocoholic and I hope I was not the one taking photos when you arrived. I took the early April easter egg class and it was a pleasure to work alongside these fabulous artists. Their chocolate creations truely are a work of art and I also could not leave without purchasing deserts and pastries and chocolate. When I invited people to taste a chocolate, many of them declined initially because they are so beautiful, people were scared of taking one. But they are there to be enjoyed, after all I only live 4 hours drive away and I intend to go back for more classes. The greatest lesson I have learnt from Norman Love confections, is that next time I need to buy a bigger box of chocolates!
I went to Fort Myers Beach when I was 8- it was my first time traveling outside Canada -and now I have good reason to go back! Sounds waaayyyy tastier now.
Hi Suzanne: Nice to have you joining us on this tasty adventure.
Yes, I’ve been to FLA many times, but this was my first time to Fort Myers and I can’t wait to go back. Not just for the chocolate, but for the lovely beach and great environment.
All I can say is, “Mmmmm…” Thanks for bringing us along on your journey. 😉
Okay, now you’ve got me, Doreen! Florida is really not my destination of choice (I’m not a beach person), but apparently I have to make a special trip to Fort Myers to meet Mr. Love. I suspect the Black box would be my favourite too.
With fond memories of the *original* Chocotour ~
Yes, knowing your fine taste in chocolate, Kathe, I know you’d love the NL BLACK collection. It has the elegance and sophistication of Jean Galler’s chocolate, but with a sense of youth and playfulness. The best I have had to date. It made me sad as I worked my way thru the box, knowing that it would soon be coming to and end. I’ve never quite had such an emotional attachment to chocolate.
You got that right, Virginia! We will reinstate our chocolate-tasting partnership later this year/early next to uncover the mysteries of the amazing trinitario beans of Madagascar. It’s sure to be a very tasty trip!
Giddy over chocolate? You? Never.
I wonder what makes the Madagascar chocolate so special. Is it the soil? The island environment? The unique qualities of the bean? I believe a fact finding mission is in order.
Thanks, Manny & Elizabeth, for your comments – and your enthusiasm!
Yes, Manny. Chocolatour will have a chapter on chocolate and wine pairing. In fact, I tried a wine last that goes tremendously with chocolate as it has chocolate undertones in it. Look for Barista in the South African section. A delightful Pinotage!
Oh, this sounds wonderful! I wish I could indulge my love of chocolate more…. Mmmm.
Oh, i would love the job of pairing wines with these gorgeous goodies! BTW: i have been drinking reds!!!!!! and no reaction.
Sandra, Thanks for your support, and the invitation to return to your platform of authors’ profiles. I would be thrilled to talk about Chocolatour with you! Thx for sharing your passion for chocolate and helping me spread the word!
Ooooh Doreen … I’m oozing green with envy reading this. Sounds so delicious. It’s also such a pleasure to meet experts in the fields we are writing about so I’m sure spending time with Norman Love must have been very special. Do keep us posted on the progress of your book. I’ll be buying one pronto as soon as it runs off the press. (And will have you back on Author! Author! http://www.sandraphinney.com)