Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and as everyone knows, that means one of three things: 1.) smugly cuddling with your boo, 2.) wallowing in self-pity as you hold your own hand or 3.) owning your fabulousness regardless of your relationship status and buying yourself that box of chocolates that’s been on your mind. I am pleased to report that this February, options 1 and 2 will become extraneous, as the new chocolate shop My Brigadeiro has graced Hanover with a bounty of luscious treats that are guaranteed to take your mind off of anything that isn’t the glorious brigadeiro in your mouth.
But what exactly, you ask, is a brigadeiro? It’s a type of Brazilian chocolate that’s as common on birthdays in Rio as cupcakes are here. Brigadeiros are normally made from scratch out of condensed milk, butter and chocolate powder. They are round like truffles, but don’t have a hard outer shell. Their consistency is similar to that of fudge, but unlike fudge, they don’t have a grainy texture.
My Brigadeiro owner Ana Paula Alexandrescu explains that she perfected the texture of her confections by incorporating a high concentration of cocoa powder. Because the crystallization of sugar is what creates the slightly grainy texture that fudge can have, using a ratio with more cacao allows for a smoother texture and richer flavor. The sweets are made with organic ingredients from as far away as Europe and as close as local farms.
Thirty-nine flavors of brigadeiro are available, ranging from the popular noir (dark chocolate) to banana (milk chocolate with banana, topped with cinnamon and sugar) to ginger (white chocolate with fresh ginger and sesame seed) and beyond.
Alexandrescu began experimenting with flavors in her basement kitchen two years ago, upon deciding to take the plunge and open her business. Although she now makes them in the shop, a more sophisticated environment for the delicate gourmet chocolate, she keeps a flavor list running and takes suggestions. Each one is crafted and decorated by hand, and online orders are custom-made.
Alexandrescu has been making brigadeiros her whole life, but began experimenting with and perfecting her recipe and the image she sought for her business just two short years ago. After spending a year at culinary schools to learn the tricks of the chocolate trade, she opened a shop that aims to strike a balance between the professional and the personal. High-quality candies and gorgeous packaging contribute to the professional feel, while an intimate, cozy shop with armchairs, tables, fresh flowers and bright colors adds a personal touch.
Brigadeiros are available for purchase individually, as well as in sets of four, nine, fifteen and thirty. Admittedly, they are more expensive than a Kit-Kat from CVS (for example, a four-count box is $11.40), but it’s only fair to expect that such high-quality, scrumptious creations be worth a few extra dollars. If you’re looking for a gift for a friend, roommate, sweetheart or literally anyone else, My Brigadeiro is the guaranteed to be the sweetest place around.
Looking for homemade ways to up your Valentine’s game? Try these recipes: