Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wine and Chocolate Truffles

Your Chocolate Priestess has reviewed truffles with wine before and even chocolates with beer and hard liquor flavorings.  This is our first specific wine truffle collection and it comes from our friends at Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates where they get cocoa from around the world.  Here we see them with two bars we will be looking at later.  Just a note: We often sample the products we are sent months and months before you see the reviews, Sisters and Brothers.  Chocolate can last a good while under controlled conditions but still we want to try these out when they are as good as possible.

This is their six piece Wine and Chocolate Collection Collection that you can get in as small as three piece up to 36 piece size so you can keep it to yourself or share it as you like.  I love the fact that on the back of the paper cover over a simple brown box are images of the chocolates inside laid out exactly as they are laid out which makes it so easy to know what I should be tasting.  Not only does it tell you the wine that is used but also the type of ganche that is used so you get a ton of information in a very lovely way.  Or you can check it online.  All of the pieces are fairly close in size, measuring 1 X 1 X 0.75 inches so I won't keep repeating this measurement.  The chocolate is also very cool to the touch and starts to melt on my fingers each time as well indicating this is very pure chocolate without additives and preservatives.

The first one has a stylized grape vine with grapes on the top and is the Zinfandel in 57% bittersweet ganache.  I'm not sure if this is a red or white Zinfadel given the information on the box but the website will tell you exactly which wine each truffle uses.  There is a definite non-cocoa scent there when I pick it up to take a sniff.  The semi-solid center is very smooth and creamy, the alcohol light with a hint of spice to the light sweetness.  I like it for the subtly of the flavor and the strong cocoa.  Combined they give a touch of buzz.

Next with words written in yellow is a Malbec in 57% bittersweet ganache.  This should be a red wine and I've been told that reds go better with chocolate though personally I think it depends on the cocoa content and the type of wine.  It is hard to tell but I think I only can sense the chocolate when I breath it in as I hold it in my fingers.  I can read three words -- Savor, Enjoy, Indulge -- written on the top before I take a bite.  This has a sweet berry flavor that kicks in immediately as I start to chew.  It builds up then slowly fades into an almost buttery chocolate flavor.  Not at all what I was expecting and yet it was quite pleasing.

The Port in dark milk custard ganache has a checkered pattern on the top of it.  One of the best things about port is that is almost designed to be a dessert in and of itself.  Coupled with a dessert it can be a wonderful experience for your mouth and deliver a hearty buzz as well.  This didn't really have a non-chocolate flavor before I took a bite when a bit of berry aroma comes forth.  The center is crunchy though I'm not exactly sure why since I don't expect a custard like anything to be too crunchy but it is a nice change in texture.  The fruit flavors seem to intensity the chocolate which I think makes perfect since for a port, or at least any port I'd bother with.

With diagonal sections of chocolate, green and yellow, the Gewurztraminer plus candied ginger in milk chocolate ganache is the longest name for a chocolate we've had yet here on The Chocolate Cult.  Now Gewurztraminer seems to be described as having a ginger taste to it by several reviews of the wine so I'm wondering if adding ginger will overwhelm the chocolate since it is only a milk chocolate.  The center is fairly solid and has a lot of crunchy ginger pieces in it.  While the crunch is nice, the creamy chocolate is quickly lost to the sweetened ginger and the wine itself.  I don't know if darker chocolate could have held its own better but I wanted more chocolate from this piece.

Large reddish purple grapes grace a Shiraz in 57% bittersweet ganache truffle.  This has a general red wine fragrance with the cocoa as I bring it to my nose.  The center is very dark and semi-solid with a nice chocolaty essence that strikes my tongue first.  Then it fades into a fruity flavor, perhaps a hint of tart and then of more sweetness before returning to the chocolate. I really like when truffles are this complex and yet their flavors return to what we want here: Chocolate!

Finally the Cabernet Sauvignon in 57% bittersweet ganache has the initials "CD" in a circle making it's flavor.  This has a hint of something in the scent that is a bit odd, something I'm not expecting but then to be honest, I've never been a huge fan of Cabernet Sauvignon or perhaps I've not had very good versions.  This has a definite dark chocolate flavor but it quickly turns to a sort of blackberry maybe and then something I don't like though I can't be certain what it is; it reminds me of cigarette smoke.  Hhhmmm... Wine sure is complex and they are using quality brands here at Cocoa Dolce to get these flavors to work through the chocolate so well.

This is our third review of Cocoa Dolce products and we have one more to go before we have finished with their Offerings to The Chocolate Cult.  This Wine and Chocolate Collection is different from their cocktail collections though some of the truffles do appear in both.  Not every flavor pleased me but that doesn't seem to be a reflection of the chocolate so much as a reflection on the wine.  We don't all like the same wines and I could certainly get the subtleties one can get with a good wine.  So if you love wine, specifically the types mentioned in this review or more specifically the brands mentioned on their website -- hover over the images of the individual truffles to learn that information -- then you may love these.

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