Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vegan Truffles from Taraluna

Sisters and Brothers, I wasn't going to do a Special Sacrament midweek right now but then I received a notice of some special discounts and one of your Brothers has been asking me about vegan options.  As your Chocolate Priestess it is my duty not just to reveal information to you but to respond to your needs.  Cacao-Me, these are the vegan truffles you may be looking for.

The gold box in this picture is the vegan offering from Taraluna.  It has nine different "nuts & chews" truffles.  The cover of the boxes may be different from what is shown but the chocolates, created by Sjaak’s, should be the same quality as what I’ve revealing today.  Each has pictures and flavor titles on the back; not the best place for such information but at least they both have it so you can’t be unpleasantly surprised.  I think I prefer the list in the front cover or a separate booklet myself so I don’t have to keep tipping over the box.  Just so you all know: I did not eat these in one sitting or even one day but spread them out over a few days.

Working on this red, Vegan box with me is both our Chocolate Coconut and our Mocha Acolyte since the upper left hand corner had a coconut while the lower left hand had a coffee flavor candy.  As I get their reports in, I will add to this Sacrament so if coconut and coffee are important flavors for you, you will want to check this Sacrament in the future.  The rest, seven truffles, I tried myself and why shouldn’t I since they are all darker chocolate and such have interesting textures and sounds to share with me.

Here is what Mavido, our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte said about the coconut truffle: "This is a small truffle, measuring 1" square by 3/4" tall and weighing in at 1/2 ounce.  The dark chocolate coating is slightly waxy to the touch and doesn't seem to want to melt despite holding in it my fingers for over a minute.  The chocolate scent is not really apparent until I bring it close to my nose, then it becomes stronger.  There is also another scent here that I can't identify but don't find to be particularly appealing.  I'm expecting a crunch as I take my first bite but instead, my teeth sink softly through the chocolate to the interior which was made of a very chewy caramel.  The center didn't have the usual butter/sugar flavor that I expected.  In fact, it didn't really have much flavor at all and I realize that I've found the source of the not so pleasant scent I detected earlier.  As I let one bite slowly melt in my mouth, I find the chocolate ganache to be slightly bitter, which is not uncharacteristic in dark chocolate, but once it's gone, there's no real flavor left.  No caramel and definitely no coconut.  In fact the only coconut in this piece seems to be the few flakes of dried coconut that adorn the top of the candy.  I suppose that this would be a good choice of chocolate for those who enjoy a vegan diet, but the blah caramel and the lack of any coconut flavor left me a little disappointed.”  While that was disappointing to read as well, Mavido has provided use with the measurements for these truffles so I won’t keep repeating that information.

I’m not a huge fan of every type of nut but I do love most of them especially walnuts, pecans and cashews and this red box has all of these plus some other such as the one I'll start with, Sisters and Brothers.  The “Pistachio Caramel” has a big nut on the top of it but only a dark chocolate smell to it.  Inside is a soft chocolate caramel and no pistachios at all so if you don’t like this type of nut, just eat around it, if you do, make sure you include it in the bite for it’s crunch and unique nutty taste.

The "Pecan Caramel" has far fewer pecan pieces on the top of it than it shows on the picture on the back of the box.  Inside it is a soft center again, lighter chocolate flavor this time and the other nuts are on the top of it.  This is very odd because I’d think for vegans you’d want a lot of nuts in your truffles to add some variety and textures but I’m not a vegan so what do I honestly know?  I know this tastes basically like the Pistachio version and that is disappointing.

The “Nugget” looks like it has something nutlike covered by the dark chocolate ganache over the entire truffle.  Inside is a traditional caramel  that is sticky and tangy and stretches as you try to take a clean bite; wonderful.  The nut on top is a peanut, unsalted I believe, and it doesn’t add much to the flavor to be blunt because the soft caramel was excellent on it’s own.

Our Mocha Acolyte, davebearin, never replied to us and for that I apologize. From now on, I will require my testers to be with me when they try treat.

The “Almond Crunch” is a little oddly shaped, not a square and not a round, it’s in the upper right hand corner of this photo or the #2 truffle in the first photo of today’s Revelation.  This is a very crunchy truffle with a hard center and two solid almonds inside.  It has an intense almond flavor and a strong vanilla flavor as well, both of which overwhelm the dark cocoa.  Definitely makes a crunch with chew but I’m not terribly pleased by the flavor combinations for some reason.

The “Cashew Cluster” is also oddly shaped though it has fitted itself to the little cup in the box on it’s lower half, this is the center lower piece in the original picture or the lower left hand piece in the previous photo.  This is a very hard piece, solid all the way through with piece of cashews throughout.  It is very chocolaty, so much so that it blocks most of the nut flavor though not it’s texture or crunch.  Let the chocolate melt to get more of the cashew taste but know this will increase the buzz potential a great deal as well.

I look forward to these last two caramels given the earlier “Nugget” which pleased me a lot.  The first is a “Peanut Caramel” which confusions me since isn’t that basically what the “Nugget” was?  This has a mostly smooth surface with one raised ridge of chocolate across it or the fourth piece in the box.  Strangely it does not look or smell as dark as the previous pieces are but then “dark chocolate” covers a very wide range of cocoa content and we know that not all are created equal nor do they taste the same.  Inside is as soft chocolate and peanut buttery caramel with tiny pieces of nuts.  It is a lot like some organic and vegan versions of peanut butter cups I’ve had in the past.

The “Chocolate Caramel” piece has a few raised ridges of chocolate along it’s top and a nice dark fragrance to it.  Inside is a semi-soft chocolate caramel that has a light malt flavor to it for some reason.  It’s good but not as tangy as I want from a caramel though it has a cocoa kick to it in every bite.

Overall the chocolate tastes a bit different than non-vegan chocolate does and I’m not sure how to describe it.  While I am a fan of darker chocolate and as I point out repeatedly the health benefit only begin with 70% or above, there is an bitterness here that isn’t as comfortable as I find even in 93% dark chocolate that includes dairy instead of soy which I think has a very different taste.  Of course, if you are vegan then you are used to and like that soy taste and I think you will really like this selection from Taraluna.  More than that, they are offering a special deal right now.  If you order today, November 25, 2009, and use the code "Gobble25" you can save 25% off the product prices; if you want until Black Friday, November 27, 2009, you can use "Gobble20" to get a 20% discount and then from Saturday the 28th to Monday the 30th you can use "Gobble15" to save 15%.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.


Cacao-Me said...

excellent! I was looking for a new site to purchase a holiday gift for a friend. 25% off you can't beat that. My order is going in today. The timing in all this is perfect. You are the best, chocolate priestess. On this thanksgiving week, I do give thanks for you and the cult. And may your holidays be full of wonderful sweetness - and a lot of good chocolates!

Cacao-Me said...

And by the way, rather than going with the vegan nuts and chews (which tend not to be as good as other vegan chocolate options), I enjoy vegan truffles. In general, the european style also tends to have more depth of flavor, rather a "soy taste."

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I've had other vegan things, even from Taraluna, that were different tasting. I think it's just different from type and flavor. If you look on their site (they also have a link on the side board here near the bottom) they have European styles ones as well, though if they are vegan I don't know...

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