Saturday, July 10, 2010

Passport to Chocolates #1

I have been waiting for the chance to reveal the chocolatiers of Cocoa Dolce to you for months, Sisters and Brothers.  I ate these some time back and then had to work around all the various scheduling needs of those companies that share their products with us, holidays, and the needs of the chocolate to be eaten at a particular time.  Why did I want to share these?  Look the left at the adorable suitcase they were delivered in.  Add into that the added special features of a "map to euphoria" showing images of all their truffles plus a map of where they get their cocoa from, an "airline ticket" with special coupons, and a DVD about their business and it was a unique package I received from them.

We're going to start with the 9 piece assorted truffles they sent and then in future months this year cover the wine truffles and the bars they sent as well.  Here is the 9 piece box and inside are the truffles we'll be experiencing in today's "Saturday Sacrament".  I'll describe them all to you in groups of 2, 2, 3, and 2, but not in the same layout as you see in this picture so watch the following photos and my words carefully.  The round truffles all measure 0.75 X 1 inch in dimensions while the square pieces are about 0.8 X 0.6 inches in dimensions.  I know the flavors from the color booklet that is included in the box which also lists the other flavors you could get in their 18 and 36 piece assortments, 36 flavors without a repeat.

First the two nut varieties in the box: "Carmello Nocé" and "Gianduia".  The first is topped by a large pecan and made with 70% Colombian cocoa. It has a definite dark scent. The shell makes not sound when I take a bite but the nut is very crunchy.  Inside is a lightly vanilla and tangy semi-soft dark center that mixes perfectly with the dark chocolate.  "Carmello Nocé" is a wonderful combination of these flavors and offer a slight buzz as well.  The milk chocolate "Gianduia" has some praline hazelnut pieces over the top.  It primarily smells like milk chocolate before I take a bite.  The shell is silent and lets me easily into the creamy center that is like a hazelnut chocolate spread you might use on fruit or bread.  The flavor is what I'd hope for from such a combination so again I am pleased.

The next two truffles are beverage flavors: "Champagne" and "Mocha".  "Champagne" is a light chocolate as you can see in the photo and it is rolled in sugar which gives it a very sweet scent.   The outer shell is very light and holds in a very soft, very sweet champagne flavored center, made from Spanish brut Cava to be specific.  The chocolate itself is overwhelmed by the alcoholic flavor and the sugar together really.  The "Mocha" has both a chocolate and coffee fragrance and is clearly one of the square truffles.  The coffee bean on top is also covered with the same chocolate shell as the rest of the treat.  I bite off a corner and it snaps because it is much thicker than the previous pieces has been.  The coffee flavor is very light here leaving primarily a bitter chocolate and a touch of something else which is a bit sweet, probably the Kahlúa mentioned in the booklet.

The next set is a trio of the square chocolates: "Mayan," "Cinnamon-Orange," and "Raspberry.  Each has edible ink on top so you can tell which flavor is which and all three are made of 57% bittersweet organic chocolate.  "Mayan" has the image of a person eating something that reminds me of Mayan art that I've seen.  It has a strong cocoa and some spicy scent to it it that comes through the bittersweet shell that makes no sound when I take a bite.  Inside is creamy semi-solid center that seems to have something in it as I chew it up, something that is slightly sticky.  There is a spiciness here but also a lot of sweetness but it does not overcome the chocolate itself so I really like this variety.  "Cinnamon-Orange" has only a chocolate scent before I bite through the shell inked with a circle surrounding a C and D.  Once a bite through it without a sound, the semi-solid but creamy inside releases a hint of citrus essence in both flavor and scent.  The citrus is very subtle in terms of tastes and makes for a sweet counter to the cinnamon.  All three flavors blend very well in this square.  Finally, the "Raspberry" has such a strong fruit fragrance that it comes through the bittersweet shell even before I bring it close to my nose.  The dusky pink dots on the top are a clear indication of this very common fruit and chocolate combination.  The scent is a bit misleading here since the flavor of the semi-solid dark center is barely fruity at all.  So this isn't the best for the raspberries lovers out there.

The last two flavors are a round "Strawberry" dark chocolate covered in sugar and a white chocolate half globe that measures over an inch across and almost 0.75 inches high called "Lemon".   As you can see, even though I took these photographs under the same conditions on the same day, this picture refused to be more in focus and for that I apologize, Sisters and Brothers.  "Strawberry" has a light strawberry scent as the sugar flecks off in my fingers.  I bite through the semi-soft shell to find a creamy, sweet yet still bitter chocolate inside.  Again the sugar overwhelms the chocolate though not nearly as much as it did with the "Champagne" flavor and the strawberry itself is almost undetectable.  "Lemon" has a mostly milky scent and it seems to have powdered sugar on the top which I have never seen on a truffle before.  This has a fairly thick white chocolate shell over the creamy semi-soft center and yet makes no sound when I take a bite.  At first there is only the creaminess and then the sharp lemon flavor hints my tongue and that lemon scent intensifies.  Eventually it settles back into the creamy flavor making this a very nice white chocolate truffle for those of you who love this flavor.

If this assortment read as good to you as it was for your Chocolate Priestess to enjoy, then you should check out Cocoa Dolce.  I look forward to revealing more of their creations to you in the next few months, Sisters and Brothers.

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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