Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tiny Iowa Chocolatier Creates Delights

Divine Decadents in Shellsburg, Iowa, is a tiny chocolate shop, and they primarily work as a supplier to other chocolate shops and restaurants, but you can buy from them directly or stop in their store.   When I visited the store, I bought a few things, as I try to do when I physically visit a chocolatier, and they gave me some products as well.  Sacraments, as you may know, Sisters and Brothers, are only for products we are sent or given to evaluate and reveal to you, so this essay is about the four truffles and a cereal treat we were given.

We'll reveal the truffles first, in the order shown in this photo to the right.  I'm only going to show you the inside of one of these, because, again, I originally reviewed these while I was traveling and set this post up to appear later.  The first piece is the "New York Cheesecake" of white chocolate with a graham cracker dusting on the top.  It didn't really have a scent to it, but it bit open easily to reveal a very creamy cheesecake center that blended back into the white chocolate's creaminess perfectly.  The result is just what you'd expect from cheesecake, so this was a perfect, tiny reproduction of that treat.

The next piece, going clockwise is "Death by Chocolate," which is a dark chocolate shell with chocolate jimmies on the top.  This had a very dark cocoa scent to it and again was easy to bite in half.  Inside was a mostly solid cocoa center with a strong dark bitterness and a hint of vanilla, which created a slight burning sensation, which real vanilla can if you linger on it.  Even half a truffle created a slight cocoa buzz.

The "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough" deserves to be the only cut-open photo so you can see the detail that Divine Decadents puts into each piece.  Just look, and you can see the tiny chocolate chips and hopefully some of the doughy texture as well.  The only scent initially was a light milk chocolate scent, and it was soft to bite into.  Inside, though, was obviously cookie dough, and it has the grainy but creamy texture you'd get from eating cookie dough, including the crunchy little chips.  It had a citrus sort of flavor as well to it, and the cream of the dough competed strongly with the chocolate, which I think was two types: a milk chocolate shell and semi-sweet chips.  An excellent match to cookie dough, and the first time I've ever reviewed a truffle with this type of flavor.

Finally, we try the "French Silk" piece, which has both a dusting of cocoa and a drizzle of lighter chocolate on top of the darker shell.  These three types of chocolate played out in the scent, each one impacting my nose when I took a whiff.  The center was smooth, as a French Silk pie should be.  The dark and milk chocolate combined well, though a bitter bite was the final flavor in my mouth, which suited me just fine.

They also gave me a dark chocolate-covered Rice Crispy treat on a stick -- I'm not sure it has another name.  This has a dark cocoa and marshmallow scent, exactly as I'd expect.  I've never made cereal bar treats on a stick before, so it takes a bit of thinking to decide how to eat it.  I just bite off the upper right corner first.  This makes a nice crunch with each chew, and the cereal inside is very sweet, as I know these sorts of treats should be.  The dark chocolate shell adds an interesting flavor but doesn't manage to overcome the marshmallow flavor.  So if you like these sorts of cereal treats, love marshmallows and like a little bit of darker cocoa flavor, these are good tasting and fun to eat, though the last few bites will fall off the stick, so hold it over a plate, bowl or hand.

Overall, the truffles from Divine Decadents were exactly as their names promised, and you sometimes do not get that with chocolates.  I can see now why candy retailers and restaurants order these from eastern Iowa. The cereal treat was just fun to eat and made me think about trying such a thing in my own kitchen.  If you want to check them out, for a limited time, until the end of April 2010, you can get free shipping on any order, so check them out soon.

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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