Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, May 16, 2009

May is rushing by so quickly, Sisters and Brothers, and the potential Sacraments seem more and more beautiful and intense than the last your Chocolate Priestess revealed to you. This week Wiseman House Fine Chocolates offered us their "Signature Collection," which came in this brown box with a yellow ribbon you see to the right. It was one of four potential Sacraments this company submitted, so you'll be reading more about Wiseman's in the future.

The box was easy to open, and inside, very carefully and securely packed, were two
trays of their handcrafted candies, which you can see in some detail to the left. The card which came in the box listed the flavors in this collection, but after looking it and the chocolates over, I fear this may be another case of my playing detective a bit. At least two pieces appear identical, but since there are 15 flavors on the card and 16 pieces, that makes sense. Two pieces are clearly white chocolate, and six are dark chocolate, leaving seven pieces milk chocolate — something for everyone in the Cult. I'll review them from the white to the milk to the dark chocolate.

Join me as I try these throughout the day, always cleansing my palate and waiting between pieces so that the true essence is revealed each time. Remember, Sisters and Brothers, this is how we should always approach our use of the Divine Substance as part of our spiritual journey toward the Creator.

The very first thing I notice when I remove the cushion from the top of the layers is the powerful cocoa scent, which tempts me sorely, but I am strong on the Path and resist. I will reveal these to you slowly and purposefully. The second thing I notice is how beautiful each piece is, each with a unique design or style, though two are the same, as I mentioned above. Handmade and homemade chocolates should be appreciated for their beauty just as you might appreciate a painting or a sculpture, because each is an artistic vision of its maker. Each of these pieces is 1 inch in diameter and about the same in height.

The "Coconut" piece is milk chocolate, identifiable by its lumpiness. The coconut inside is very moist and the milk chocolate smooth. Since, as you know by now, Sisters and Brothers, I'm not a fan of coconut, this description will have to suffice.

The "Apricot" piece is white chocolate with a bit of ruddy fruit on the top. The scent is very much the simple white chocolate you would expect. Inside is solid white, the apricots and brandy pureed with more white chocolate; here I can now smell the fruit itself, with a bit of a tang as it courses through my senses. The taste is very well blended; the white chocolate is the dominant flavor, with the fruit's sweetness smoothly combining for a very pleasurable taste.

The next white chocolate may be the "Raspberry Champagne" flavor, with the confectioner's sugar falling off in transit. When I bring it to my nose I smell the white chocolate, but something else I can't place, so I take a bite. The inside is a cream color and has a faint raspberry scent; however, the flavor isn't raspberry but more champagne. Taking some of the cream itself without the white chocolate reveals more of the raspberry flavor, but still it isn't very strong.

I try the plain milk chocolate piece next, which should be the "Milk Rufus" flavor. Yup, I can taste that hint of vanilla. The inside is surprisingly chewy almost, very creamy and rich tasting. Interestingly, the ganache melts, but the inside does not, nor does allowing it to melt increase or decrease the flavor. Overall a very good piece of milk chocolate that I can recommend for its mild buzz and consistent flavor.

The "Seville Orange" is marked with a dark chocolate spot on top of the milk chocolate shell. If I take a big whiff I can barely get a hint of citrus through the ganache. The dark chocolate center is lightly orange, and I think there are strands of orange in it that mildly crunch as I chew. Unexpected but not unpleasant texture, but I'm more impressed by the mixture of milk, dark and orange flavors. The orange and dark center lingers longer than the milk chocolate in my mouth.

The next piece looks very similar but with a white chocolate spot marking it as the "Amaretto" flavor. Breathing in the scent I can tell that there is a definite Amaretto aroma mixed with the much lighter white and milk chocolate smells. As promised, the inside is a soft white chocolate with Amaretto, which gives the normally very smooth flavor a kick. Together both the white chocolate and the liqueur overwhelm the milk chocolate flavor, so I say this is more for the white chocolate followers of The Chocolate Cult.

Next, drizzled with white chocolate, should be the "Irish Cream" piece. There is more than the chocolate scents here, but I can't say for certain it is an Irish Cream smell before biting into it. As with the previous candy, the flavor is blended with the soft white chocolate center. The Irish Cream builds up in my mouth as I chew and lingers until it overwhelms both the white and milk chocolates. This flavor also lingers for many minutes after finishing this piece, so make sure you are a fan of Irish Cream.

To continue with our liqueur theme, I'll next try the "Southern Hospitality" flavor, marked with a dusting of sugar on top. I can smell the milk chocolate and sugar before biting into it. This should be flavored with Jack Daniel's whiskey; the insert says that you really only taste if you let it melt or chew it slowly. The soft milk chocolate inside is smooth and melds perfectly into the matching ganache.

"Texas Pecan" is the only nut flavor of the selection, and it's the next milk chocolate piece your Chocolate Priestess will try. It is marked by a light pecan topping, which the scent confirms. I love pecans in chocolate, so I eagerly bite into this offering. The nuts inside are very finely ground and make no sound as I chew, though their flavor is strong but blends evenly with the soft milk chocolate center. Since neither of my Acolytes likes or can eat nuts, I'll just have to finish this piece entirely on my own — the sacrifices I make for you, Sisters and Brothers.

The final milk chocolate flavor is "Love Potion," which has a stroke of gold coloring on one half of the top. This is supposed to be a spicy truffle, with ancho and chilpotle cinnamon in a dark center. The inside is not as soft as previous truffles, and the spiciness is light, though it builds up at the back of my tongue as I let it melt or continue to chew. Not as much a kick as other spicy chocolates we've had.

That leaves us with the 6 remaining dark chocolate truffles in five flavors. I'm going to start with what I think is the "Dark Rufus" piece, the simplest flavor, a plain dark chocolate with no added decoration. Yup, I guessed correctly, the ganache makes a snapping sound when I bite into the equally dark and bitter center. An immediate buzz rushing through my mouth and up to my eyes as I let it melt.

The next piece is "Raspberry," which is marked by a thin gold line on the top. The fruit scent comes through the dark chocolate ganache when I take a slight whiff, suggesting the raspberry may overpower the cocoa. The inside is smooth, no seeds, and the flavor does indeed build up, but it never overpowers, merely blends well. A treat for the raspberry lovers among you, Sisters and Brothers.

"Snooky" is an odd name is the next flavor, a "dark Belgian ... with coffee cinnamon" that is covered in sugar so it sparkles in the light. The sugar scent almost buries the dark chocolate when I breathe it in before biting. The sugar crumbles off a bit as I bite into very bitter, intense dark chocolate that sends a spike of sensation up to my brain. Each chew crunches from the sugar, both it and the cocoa building the buzz up more and more. So far this is the most unique of the flavors; even the form of the chocolate, round and rolled, is different, and your Chocolate Priestess is pleased and a little high from the truffle.

The next piece, marked by a silver dot on the top, is the "Gran Saman," the highest cocoa content that Wiseman offers at 70%. You can smell that it is darker than the previous pieces. The inside is the firmest center of all the truffles thus far, and the bitterness is intense after so many milk and white chocolates. Now I like darker, more bitter, chocolates myself, 80% being the point at which I dislike it, and this creates a wonderful taste in my mouth. However, this level of bitterness and pure cocoa is not for everyone, so know your limits, Sisters and Brothers. At this level, letting it melt in my mouth creates such an intense rush that I'm almost feeling dizzy, my senses expanding and moving me outside my body as I focus on the taste, which oddly seems a bit sweet on the edges of my tongue.

That leaves what must be the "Wild Woman" pieces, which are dark chocolate covered in a dark chocolate drizzling, though the description on the list does not say this. Again the scent is pure dark chocolate, though not as dark as the previous piece. The first bite is soft and cocoaey, more dark than the "Dark Rufus" but not as intense as the "Gran Saman." It practically melts in my mouth and becomes one of my favorites from the Signature Collection.

Each piece melts slightly, signaling the purity of the chocolate ganache that forms their shells. Each has a nice soft center and is about 2-3 bites in size. The milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffles also each have a definite buzz factor that the milk chocolate lacked, which is not too surprising considering what causes the sensation in the first place. These are well-crafted truffles, in all senses of that phrase, that were a pleasure to reveal to you all. A worthy Sacrament if you choose which flavors you like best, which you can at custom made assortments. There aren't as many flavors to choose from as with other chocolatiers we've revealed here in The Chocolate Cult, but these were all solid offerings.

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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