Saturday, July 31, 2010

Artisan Confections: Part 1

Is there any better gift than chocolate from a locally-owned shop? It’s fresh and even more delicious because the chocolatier can experiment with more delicate flavors that may not hold up very well over time. I was fortunate enough to receive a 16-piece box of chocolate from Artisan Confections (1025 N. Fillmore Street in Arlington) as a thank-you gift earlier this week, and couldn’t wait to sample these DC-area treats.

Upon opening the box, it is clear that the shop founder, Jason Andelman, is committed to delivering a visually-pleasing product.

The artwork on some of the chocolates is so astounding that they’re almost too beautiful to eat.

Almost. In the interest of prolonging the lives of some of the more intricately-decorated pieces, I started with the Cinnamon Caramel.

While the outward appearance is not very notable compared to some of the other pieces in the collection, a bite inside reveals an exceptionally smooth caramel filling with a hint of cinnamon and just the right level of sweetness.

The dark chocolate shell is thin and smooth with an outstanding temper, which enhances the strong flavor. The end result is a chocolate that is most certainly worth a special trip to the Artisan confections shop.

Moving on to the more artfully-decorated chocolates, I tried the Passion-Fruit, which had a design of daisies on the outer shell.

Inside was a smooth, tart gel with a tiny bit of sweetness.

The passion-fruit flavor, while pleasing and delivered in ultra-smooth gel form, overwhelms the chocolate a bit. I would call this a “chocolate-covered candy” rather than a “chocolate.”

I finished up the night’s sampling with the Pistachio-Cherry piece, which is presented with the same ultra-smooth dark chocolate coating and a pink-swirled top.

Inside are two layers of ganache: pistachio on the bottom, cherry on top.

The cherry flavor is noticeable but subtle; the pistachio flavor is even more subdued, which allows the chocolate flavor to shine in this creation. The ganache is a tad thick but has a pleasing consistency. The overall result is a high-quality chocolate creation that is worth a second (or third or fourth) bite.


Artisan Chocolate: So far, outstanding

Cinnamon Caramel: Wonderful chocolate with a hint of cinnamon

Passion-fruit: Chocolate overwhelmed by the passion-fruit flavor

Cherry-Pistachio: Neat ganache layering technique, pleasing blend of flavors

Check back later as I sample more of these gems.


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