Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Chocolate Soldier: Fruit-Based Truffles

While I’m able to hold onto bar chocolate for a while, I have a difficult time holding onto truffles, pralines and giandujas. This is easy to justify, as these have shorter shelf lives than bar chocolates. With that in mind, I opened up the box of truffle I’d picked up from The Chocolate Soldier during my trip to Southern California, and picked out the orange to try first.

The super-size truffle has a thick milk chocolate shell and a milk chocolate ganache inside.

The milk chocolate shell has a fairly balanced flavor, with a reasonable amount of sugar such that it doesn’t distract from the flavor of the ganache filling. Unfortunately, the ganache filling itself leaves a lot to be desired. The orange flavor has a distinct artificial bite, and the ganache tastes somewhat like an orange creamsicle. The tang-like aftertaste is bad enough, and the ganache is somewhat grainy to boot. Even though this truffle must weigh in at 2-3 ounces, it’s not worth $3 given the quality.

Having tried part of a white chocolate mango truffle at the vendor booth while I was still in Dana Point, I was optimistic that I might enjoy the dark chocolate mango truffle a bit more.

The dark chocolate shell surrounds a fluffy mango filling that seems to be part mousse and part buttercream. Encouragingly, there appear to be chunks of what might be real mango in the filling, which indicated a welcome change from the less-than-real taste from the orange truffle.

The mango filling itself is, in fact, a nice combination of sweet and tart, just like a real mango. The mango flavor doesn’t have any kind of artificial aftertaste, and the mousse-and-buttercream-blend is pleasingly fluffy and smooth. Unfortunately, the dark chocolate shell is far too thick and hard to blend well with the light filling, and it is impossible to eat this truffle without having the entire thing collapse. The chocolate is also unfortunately a bit dry and bitter, to the extent that even the creamy, sweet filling doesn’t sufficiently cut the bitterness. While the mango filling is well-textured and well-flavored, the execution of the entire truffle is just not right. The contrast between the flavors and textures is too great, and the truffle should be constructed such that it can be eaten without crumbling into a dozen pieces. I don’t think this truffle was worth $3 either, though I might have a different opinion of the coating were a bit softer to make the consumption process less messy.


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