Saturday, August 28, 2010

Van's Signature Assortment, Part Two

Sisters and Brothers, today your Chocolate Priestess will reveal the second half of Van's Chocolate large Signature Assortment which I previously expounded upon back on July 24, 2010.  Again this came in a large box that you can see to the right.  In this Sacrament we'll look at their nut clusters and their truffles in both milk and dark chocolate varieties.

First we have the milk chocolate coconut piece along with a milk chocolate nut cluster. There are no pictures or guide for these so we'll see how well I can do guessing the nuts.  The Coconut is basically shredded and covered in milk chocolate and two mounds came in this box.  The coconut is a bit crunchy while the chocolate is creamy as with the previous milk chocolates.  The nut cluster looks like it is probably cashews from the shape of the nuts; two of them covered with milk chocolate. The cashews are slightly salted but mostly you get the nice nutty flavor with the creamy milk chocolate in this piece.  Both of these melted on my finger tips even in an air conditioned house so this is real chocolate, Sisters and Brothers.

The two dark chocolate nut clusters are less easy to identify by looking at them.  One seems to have a lot of nuts which at first glance appear to be peanuts halve perhaps.  However when I bite into it I discover these are really walnut halves that crunch as I chew, mixing their flavor with the deep bitterness of the dark chocolate that melts on my fingers again.  The other piece looks very smooth is a bit oddly shaped giving visual testament to their handmade quality.  This piece makes a loud snap when I take a bite right into a full almond.  There are basically two almond underneath the bitter chocolate and their flavor is unhindered by any added salt or sweetness which surprisingly allows them to overpower the darker chocolate.  Oddly none of these nut clusters really had a scent though the coconut (not really a nut) had a slightly sweet coconut essence when I raised it to my nose.

Now we'll move onto the truffles which are approximately 1.25 inches across and rise to about an inch in height making nice domes of chocolates.  The website has a few photos and descriptions that I read carefully through yet only three of the dark truffles are potentially identifiable so hold on, Sisters and Brothers, while we take this trip of discovery together.  Four of these are milk chocolate and four are dark chocolate so I'll divide these again into four pairs to reveal to you.

The milk chocolate are covered with colored drizzles of chocolate which often give a hint as to the flavor inside.  We'll start with the two that have a single color on them this lime green and salmon drizzle white chocolate.  The lime green stripped has a soft fruity scent through the milk chocolate.  This truffle bite open easily to reveal two layers inside.  The top is a fluffy white cream that has a sharp citrus flavor while the bottom is a light green caramel with a another citrus flavor.  I think this is a lemon-lime caramel cream truffle and it is good, blending smoothly into the milk chocolate and cooling my mouth down.  The salmon drizzled milk chocolate truffle has a fragrance I can't readily identify so I take a bite.  The truffle breaks apart easily with a soft sound to reveal a very creamy salmon center that is hard to describe really.  It isn't citrus nor is it spicy, it may be a very light cherry or a strawberry but it doesn't really scream out one identify to me.  It is good but I can't honestly state what flavor it is.

The next two milk chocolate truffles have two colors of drizzle on them both with a first layer of white chocolate and then two others.  The one with blue drizzle doesn't really have a scent.  Inside a thick shell that makes a soft snap when I take a bite is a purple, very grainy,indeed almost seedy center with a raspberry flavor.  I think this is actually raspberries lightly creamed in this center.  Usually raspberry truffles are more flavor or the seeds are removed but not this one!  The truffle with dark chocolate drizzle over the white has a coffee essence when I take a whiff of it.  Yes, inside is a light tan with brown flecks cream center that tastes like apple pie, with that tartness that you'd get from apples along with their sweetness and some cinnamon. A very unique flavor that you have to try to fully appreciate.

The dark chocolate truffles seem to fall more into the flavors that are pictured on Van's Chocolate website.  We'll see if I can match the photo or the description to three of these four truffles starting with this mostly plain one and one with a cross hatch of dark chocolate drizzle.  On the website the closest I see to the one with a zigzag pattern on top is the dark with a dark swirl so I'm wondering if this might be the Bittersweet Truffle with a different decorative flare.  It certainly smells very dark when I take a breath of it so I take a bite to find two layers inside.  The bottom is definitely a chocolate caramel while the top is a walnut flavored cream with what feels like little nut pieces on my tongue as I mush it around on the second bite.  I really like this because the dark cocoa explodes then is balanced by the sweetness and earthiness plus the texture is complex.  The other one must be the Semi-Sweet Truffle that is listed on their website if the description and the photo are correct.  Or not as a bite into it reveals a soft pinkish center with a fruity flavor that seems to be strawberry.

The final two dark truffles include one with a white and milk chocolate drizzle pattern on top.  This one does not match a photo or description on the chocolatier's website but it has another coffee like scent.  Inside a very thick shell are large pieces of coconut ad walnut pieces as well.  I'm sure our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte could give you a better view but I had no idea this would have coconut in it.  The very last truffle has this blue drizzle again and I have to suspect it will have the seedy raspberry center like the milk chocolate truffle with the same blue coloring though that did have a white drizzle as well.  This does have a raspberry fragrance so I take a bite which makes a snap because of the thick shell.  Inside is a creamy raspberry center free from any seeds which balances out the bitterness of the cocoa very nicely.

Thank you, Van's Chocolates for sharing this Signature Collection with us.  Sisters and Brothers you should check them out and look into their wonderful handcrafted chocolates.  These collections come in 1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 5 pound boxes!  These could last you or a loved one a long, delicious time but it will be an adventure since even the photos and descriptions on the website didn't seem to match what I bit into.  If you live in North Carolina you need to make the drive and find them in Hendersonville.  Remember to come back every Saturday and during the week before you go out and buy anything chocolate.

2 comments:

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

Oh yum! I really want to try these!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica. Did you check out the other two reviews of Van's we've done? You can search for them using that feature on our side bar.

I hope you consider joining us as a follower (three ways to do it) because we have an amazing contest coming up soon.

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