Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toronto Chocolates

Boardwalk Chocolates in Toronto is our chocolatier today, Sisters and Brothers.  The wonderful owner, Siue, sent your Chocolate Priestess two little boxes of their vegan, gluten free, fairtrade, organic homemade truffles: "By the Sea" and "Nut Roaster" varieties. Together these include half of the 16 flavors they offer.  Each truffle is at least one inch in diameter, and most are globes, though one, the "Peanut Butter," looks like a pyramid base.  I don't know the nutritional content, but as always, if you practice Moderation and Purposefulness in regard to your chocolate use, you should be fine.

We'll start with the "Nut Roasters" quartet of truffles.  The first is an "Almond Orange" covered with a lot of almond pieces and shavings.  This has a very deep cocoa scent to it with a tiny hint of orange and almonds when I take a whiff.  There isn't really an outer layer to this truffle, and a bite breaks off smoothly when I take one.  Inside, the flavor is an explosion of orange and cocoa with the nuts crunching as I chew.  It reminds me a lot of French style truffles where the texture inside and out is firm but creamy, not too dry, and not too moist.  This is an excellent truffle for darker cocoa and almond lovers who want a nice hit of citrus.  I can highly recommend this flavor.

The next variety is the "White Cashew & Cardamom," which unlike most white chocolates is dairy-free, as Siue assures customers on the website.  This has a cardamom scent to it, and you can see the dusting of the spice on top of the white chocolate coating.  Inside the cool white shell is a tan semi-soft center, which has a mild cardamom flavor but only slight nut shavings as far as I can feel or taste.  Overall I would call it creamy and smooth but with that added kick from the spice, so this is not for someone looking for strong cashew flavor, in my opinion.

The next is the "Hazelnut," which is dark chocolate with light cream decorations on top.  This has a cocoa and hazelnut scent even before I take a bite.  The shell is a bit thick and makes a light snap when I bite into a solid center flecked with hazelnuts.  Again this isn't too dry nor too moist, making it easy to eat.  The two flavors blend well, making this a good choice for lovers of Nutella and related hazelnut and cocoa blends.

Then to finish the nut selection is the "Peanut Butter Cloud & Marshmallow," the pyramid base piece.  This has a sweet peanut butter fragrance to it when I take in a deep breath of it.  As with all the truffles, this is cool to my fingertips and begins to melt after a few seconds.  This one is different inside when I take a bite.  First there are two layers of truffles, a top smooth creamy layer and then a more jelly-like layer below it.  The peanut butter also tastes different from what I was expecting, not nearly as sweet as the scent suggested but also not as peanutty as I would like.  This is not my favorite peanut butter truffle of all of the ones I've had since starting The Chocolate Cult, but it isn't the worst either -- that was last Easter with the terrible "Reester Bunny" I revealed to you all.

Next I'll look at the "By the Sea Box," which has four flavors as well, beginning with the "Beach" Lemongrass Ginger flavor. I think this is the piece with a white heart on top and roasted coconut on the bottom, which means I'm not going to be very objective about this.  Unfortunately I can't get this to our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte because I'm writing this review "on the road" today.  I can say that there is a nice lemongrass and ginger flavor here and that the coconut seems very crisp to me, not soggy, as I know she sometimes bemoans.

Next let's look at the "Breeze," which is a chocolate mint truffle and is supposed to have a candied mint leaf on top, but I don't really see the outline of a leaf on this chocolate, which looks like a half spiral folding in around itself to me.  The Milk Chocolate Acolyte tried it and said that there actually is a sliver of mint leaf inside the clump of sugar crystals on top of this piece.  There is a very light mint fragrance before I take a bite to find a creamy, minty cocoa center that cools down my mouth with each chew but also builds up a slight cocoa rush as well.  An excellent mint chocolate truffle with a dark cocoa buzz.

Then the "Lady Pirate" is a Lavender Chestnut combination.  This round piece has a purple crystal and a golden crystal on top of it to mark this variety.  I only smell cocoa when I take in a big breath of this chocolate.  The shell is soft when I take a bite to find a semi-soft and very lavender intense truffle inside.  Within the cream, though, are tiny flecks of chestnuts that add to the texture on my tongue and a bit of earthiness to compete with the lavender, which is really the dominant flavor here instead of the chocolate, which you know your Chocolate Priestess prefers above all other essences.

Finally I'll end today's Sacrament with the "Sea Shell," or dark raspberry truffle -- although technically this isn't a truffle per se, because it doesn't have a soft center.  This is actually two half shells put together, so you get two pieces instead of one.  They have a strong raspberry scent, and when I take a bite of one of the two shells it reveals itself to be a molded chocolate with the raspberry flavor infused into the chocolate itself.  This is good if you like a hint of raspberry without the seeds or a soft liquid center oozing out. The dark chocolate is wonderfully intense and easily provides a good buzz with just one of the two shells, so save the other to have later, or share it.

If you think that Boardwalk Chocolates sound good to you and you are in the Toronto area, go check them out, especially this coming week, when they are hosting a special event on March 18th in honor of Siue's latest cookbook and giving out samples of their truffles.  If you aren't in Toronto go check out the website to see if they will ship to you. For those of you with specific allergies and who are looking for quality vegan chocolates, this will give you what you are looking for.

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

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