Saturday, February 1, 2014

Organic Chocolate Box for Valentine's Day

Perhaps you aren't into all of the flowery prose or the heart-shaped boxes for Valentine's Day; your loved one agrees.  Yet you both want to do something to celebrate, something to mark the day for whatever reason just not with all the hype.  Sjaak's Chocolate offers a box of assorted organic truffles that might be a good choice for you plus since it isn't in a red box or heart-shaped anything this might be a good choice any time you feel like giving chocolate.  Let's take a closer look and find out, Sisters and Brothers.

We'll go in order that you see above and one of the neat things about this box of truffles is that it included an image of what was inside on the back. The note that isn't too clear in our photo says "Each piece may contain one or more of the above chocolate." I think that means that each box may have the truffles you see inside.  I don't know if you can request only specific flavors or not but I needed one of our Acolytes to help me out  with this selection.  Each truffle weights 19-21 grams according to my kitchen scale and all are milk chocolate coating though the inside and the drizzle or decorates are dark chocolate on a few of them.  But let's look at each flavor.

The Hazelnut Truffle is basically milk chocolate with the same chocolate drizzled over it in several lines.  It has a bit of heft to it when I pick it up and it feels smooth and cool to my fingertips.  It has a very sweet hazelnut scent with a light cocoa essence underneath.  A bite makes a very soft snap and inside I find a mostly solid chocolate center with a stronger chocolate hazelnut fragrance.  The first flavor is a blend of chocolate and hazelnut and that blend remains consistent with each chew and each bite. I really like that this is consistent in flavor but I also miss the extra kicks you get when a truffle has layers for your taste buds to explore.  A simple balanced hazelnut milk chocolate truffle.

Pinkish crystals mark the Cherry Truffle and these have a sweet cherry flavor to them on their own; yes I took two off the top to try them out. The scent of cherry though is very mild beyond the crystals on top, primarily this truffle has a chocolate fragrance to it.  This a louder snap on the bottom when I take a half bite.  Inside on the top is a tart bit of cherry jelly and then the milk chocolate soft-solid center beneath it.  The chocolate is the first flavor I got then the cherry, then more of the chocolate before it blended together with the tartness adding an extra kick to the creaminess of the chocolate.

The Orange Truffle's drizzled lines are more toward yellow than orange in color.  Interestingly from the bottom there is a strong orange fragrance but this is very light, hidden under milk chocolate scent from the top and sides.  The shell barely makes a sound as I take a bite into have of it and discover that the top has a orange jelly or perhaps caramel with a sharp tangy sweet flavor while the bulk of the truffle is creamy milk chocolate.  The two flavors blend well in a very balanced fashion that leaves each lingering on the tongue after a few bites.

A dusting of cocoa powder tops the Almond Truffle makes picking it up a bit messy but I just lick the cocoa off my fingers.  The scent is very sweet with a strong almond background; no chocolate for my nose with this one.  There is a very soft snap when I take a bite immediately I taste caramel and almonds with undercurrents of milk chocolate; the inside is part semi-solid with a center of what seems to be caramel.  I was not expecting that but it explains the fragrance before I bit.  Unfortunately the almonds and the caramel really cover up the milk chocolate so this might be better as a dark chocolate truffle instead.

Tiny pieces of something white are scattered over the top of the Cappuccino Truffle but I'll let our Mocha Acolyte speak to what these are. I can definitely smell chocolate but barely the coffee.  The white stuff has a generic nutty taste, perhaps it's supposed to be like the foam on a cappuccino?  There is a dollop of caramel at the top of the truffle with the semi-solid center mostly a creamy milk chocolate. Honestly if you didn't know it was cappuccino, you wouldn't figure that out eating it blind because the main flavor is the creamy milk chocolate. It's like a very weak cappuccino.

Dark chocolate drizzled lines identify the Cashew Truffle.  This is cool in my fingertips and has a very strong sweet and cashew scent with almost no chocolate when I breathe it in.  It makes as soft crunch as I take a bite the insides mostly solid with a dollop of caramel (surprise!) at the very top of the truffle.  There is an immediate burst of the sweet caramel followed by the cashew flavor and milk chocolate.  The cashew/chocolate flavor continues through the final bite and is intensified if you let it melt in your mouth.

A stylized dark chocolate leaf graces the top of the Blueberry Truffle.  The blueberry scent is mostly from the bottom of the truffle which is odd because by now I'm expecting either a flavored caramel or jelly at the top of it yet the sides have more of a chocolate smell.  Yup, biting into it makes a soft snap then the blueberry caramel or jelly floods my mouth followed by the milk chocolate then a return to the sweet blueberry at the end.  The central part of the truffle is more soft than many of the others and the fruit flavors spreads throughout it more perhaps because of or causing the softer nature of the truffle.

The Milk Chocolate Truffle simply has small milk chocolate shavings over it.  This has a sweet cocoa scent to it when I pick it up and bring it to my nose, the shell is cool and smooth in my fingertips but one of the shavings falls off when I tilt it to smell it from different angles.  Like several of the other truffles in this box this has a small dollop of caramel at the top of the truffle but the milk chocolate center is much softer.  The chocolate is very creamy and sweet, definitely on the lower cacao content scale if you prefer that but the sweetness fades as in the aftertaste or if you let a bite melt in your mouth and releases more of the cocoa flavor itself.

Coconut Truffle -- our specialist was unfortunately ill and unable to test this and you know what my reaction would be so we'll update this section of our article once she has recovered and is able to share her experiences.

There you have it, the truffle collection in an elegant little box that could be a Valentine's Day gift or for any other celebration if it sounds like something you'd want to give (or receive).  It comes with a tag that you can write "To" and "From" on so you don't even need to wrap it.  The chocolate was good but not among the best milk chocolate we've had though most of the flavors blended really well with it so these are, overall, very good truffles.  The ingredients are mostly organic (only sea salt does not claim to be but how could that be unorganic?) and Sjaak's follows The Rainbow Alliance to protect the land and the people who work it.  If these sound important to you or to your beloved you need to consider this box for the fast approaching Valentine's Day.

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