Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Unique Collection of Truffles

Even though I haven't taken you "On the Road" to this shop yet in Indianapolis, we just accepted two more Acolytes here on The Chocolate, both working with alcohol products.  Since I wanted to walk through through the process one more time and since the nice lady who owns and operates The Best Chocolate in Town gave us a few truffles with alcohol, I thought this was a good time to introduce both of our new volunteers and this chocolatier to you all, Sisters and Brothers.

In all we were given 9 truffles to sample, you can see 8 here in the box but there was a separately wrapped one as well in the box of other chocolate items.  Note that all of these truffles were at least 3-4 bites (measuring around 1 to 1.5 inches at their base) so we wrote this review over the course of an entire week.  There is a mixture of white, milk, and dark chocolate is this selection though dark is most common.  Three of them contain alcohol as well so let's begin with those and our introduction to one of our new Acolytes focusing on Alcohol and Chocolate, Spanish Bubbles, whom you may remember from way back during the first few months of our Cult when she competed for the role of Coconut Acolyte.  Remember that the words of others are in Italics.

Tiramisu traditionally has coffee but this version also has kahlĂșa in the milk and white chocolate center though the entire truffle is covered in dark chocolate.  Spanish Bubbles says: This is a lusturous dark chocolate with the delicate stripes of milk chocolate, it feels very smooth, like it could melt.  There is mostly a chocolate scent, maybe a very slight coffee and alcohol scent once I took a bite.  It crackles then crunches a bit as I chew.  Delicious!  It's remarkable just how well this chocolate captures the flavor of tiramisu!  Creamy, coffee, and a liquor tang, very chewy indeed. A marvelous balance of flavors with an inside that almost melts in our mouth.

Port Wine and Fig with a dark center and shell just sounds like a dessert truffle, doesn't it?  Spanish Bubbles first commented on the shape, too:  Usually shaped, like the tip of an airplane with almond shards on top, tightly grouped together.  The tip has obviously been lifted to fill it with the center.  It feels very smooth, even the nut shards.  It has slightly fruity overtones to the dark chocolate scent.  This outer shell makes a louder crackle when I take a bite and it crunches consistently.  The wine shines through immediately. The fig is really only present in terms of texture, there are bits of fig in the center, and this with the wine creates a sort of fruit compote filling.  The wine flavor is very dramatic and was enhanced when I had a bite with the almonds.  If I really focused I can almost taste the fig but it blends in so well with the wine and dark chocolate it is difficult to distinguish it alone.

Sun King Wee Mac is created from a local beer brewery; I love it when local or statewide small companies support each other.  This is a dark truffle both inside and out.  Spanish Bubbles has a good grounding in alcoholic drinks of a wide variety but she hadn't heard of this brand. She reports: A standard chocolate look with a swirl of what I assume is white chocolate. A nice luster but after taking a bite it looks like a basic truffle.  It feels like it might melt in your fingertips because it is very smooth.  It has a rich and chocolaty scent with a slight hint of beer.  It makes a slight crackle when I take a bite and continues to crunch a bit in my mouth.  The inside is a bit dry but not unpleasant.  The beer is subtle, if you didn't know beer was the extra ingredient it might take a while to identify it.  Over all very nice, quite rich, you really wouldn't want more than one of these at a time.

Our new Tea Acolyte, True Flint, who has really been helping me for a few years now in a more general way, tried the Earl Grey Tea Truffle himself.  He got to try this milk chocolate center with a dark shell and revealed the following: Meant to have purple stripes, but has sky blue, (they look less blue in the photo but still blue).  Ample size and weight.  Inside cream seems fluffy, as if whipped, tastes mostly of chocolate, but with a strong hint of bergamot, the spice that gives Earl Grey Tea its signature flavor, far from overwhelming however, as the chocolate soon returns to center stage.

Then I turned to the other five truffles which we got from The Best Chocolate in Town.  I began with the Cinnamon Basil in a milk and white chocolate center covered by white chocolate because is the only white chocolate shell in the collection and I thought it would be good to start with something smoother.  There is a definite hint of cinnamon in the scent with a creamy edge.  It makes a soft snap when I take a bite, surprising since white chocolate generally is quite soft.  There is a nice contrast between the milk chocolate center and shell in terms of texture, the inside is firm but not dry, and in terms of flavor, the inside is definitely cocoa powered.  The basil scent comes through once I have bitten into it and the first flavor to hit my mouth is also the sweet basil followed by creamy milk chocolate then it builds up to a slightly hot cinnamon before returning to the creamy white chocolate of the shell.  This is a very interesting truffle that I think many white chocolate fans might be pleasantly surprised by and that milk chocolate fans should give a try.

Then to counter that smooth yet spicy experience,  I turned to the Fiery Pepper which is dark chocolate all the way through. Primarily there is a dark cocoa scent with just a hint of heat to it.  The shell is so thick that it is difficult to get a bite but when I do it makes a very loud snap.  At first there is a dark cocoa then a creamier cocoa flavor that builds up along with the spice with each chew.   The spice does it a bit intense since it is both Ancho and Chipotle pepper fueled so take smaller bites if you aren't a spicy chocolate lover.  The spice is basically limited to the ganache center that is firm but not dry; peeling off a bite of the shell alone demonstrates this because there is almost no heat then.  After two bites I could feel my face start to flush a bit so while I really liked this because the chocolate also built up, this is more of spice lovers than just dark chocolate lovers.

Their Chocolate Chip Cheesecake has a whited chocolate center and a milk chocolate shell with a few mini chocolate chips on top.  Since I've had this type of dessert before outside a truffle I wanted to see how it compared.  The scent is very creamy with just a hint of cocoa but the shell is also very cool in my fingers.  I take a bite from the top and find a very thick, cheeselike center with more mini chips inside.  At first the chocolate fades into the tangy flavor I associate with cheesecake but the chips add tiny bursts of chocolate to the mix.  The chips are darker than the shell I think and they certainly compete well with the cheesecake.  This is exactly what the name says it should be and it is very good.

The Gorg is named for the gorgonzola cheese in the milk chocolate center but it is covered with dark chocolate walnut pieces.  I have to confess that I was a bit nervous to try this one but it is my duty as your Chocolate Priestess to try as much as I can with an open mind.  It has a dark chocolate scent with a smokiness underneath it.  The tiny pieces of walnuts on the top didn't stick well, I found them throughout the box.  I love walnuts, I like gorgonzola cheese, and you know I love dark chocolate but I hesitate when I bring it to my lips, the smoothness of the shell actually melting a bit on my fingertips.  I bite from the top to get the full experience of flavors and it makes a soft crunch.  Inside is a firm and slightly dry dark chocolate center with a clear smoky cheese flavor that blends really well with the crunches of earthy nuts and the bitter darker chocolate.  I am shocked at how well this all works together.  The second, third, and fourth bites aren't as balanced, the cheese comes through more strongly, I think the walnuts were a good counter.  I like it a lot but I think it might be even better with the nuts mixed into the ganache as well.

The Nocturne is extra dark with a 61% center, a dark shell, and 91% shavings on top of it.  You can tell the difference between percentages of cacao once you get some experience with a lot of single origin and a ranger of bars or pieces of dark chocolate.  You can tell by taste by also by scent and look.  While the photo isn't great to show this, I apologize for that, the shavings are a lighter color only because they are shavings, the edges do not have the shine but normally I can see a shade of difference.  The fragrance is stronger, darker from the top with the shavings than the on the bottom.  This makes me hopeful for a variation in flavors before I take a bite.  The shell makes far softer of a snap when I bite than I had expected given the higher cacao content and basically nothing but chocolate in this truffle.  The ganache is a touch dry but then it immediately melts in my mouth, it has a creamy texture as it melts not surprising given how ganache centers are made for truffles but I think it might be darker than the shell even if the color is lighter.  The shavings add an edge to it all when I take a bite from the top.  Cocoa rush happens within seconds and I start to drift in chocolate bliss.

The truffles from The Best Chocolate in Town were an amazing assortment of flavors may unique.  Unique can get you into trouble because too many flavors and too strong can overpower the chocolate, our main concern.  That never happened with this and whether white, milk, or darker, the chocolate shone through.  Combine this fact with their woman-owned small business status and their interest in the community, I'll touch upon that in our On the Road look at the shop, and these truffles earn Sacrament status.


Guru Uru said...

These truffles all look divine, thank you for the awesome review my friend :D

Choc Chip Uru

TammyJo Eckhart said...

They were all great, too. So much of the credit for this review needs to go to The Best Chocolate in Town.

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