What began as something for nobility (and a story for another day) is now available for all. The chocolate delight of the ages, the chocolate truffle. Readily available though might not translate into great for you or great tasting. How will you know?
What are you looking for?
Favorite chocolates are usually stuck in your head from when you were a child.
- Was it a truffle that you bit in to and it had snap, or was the chocolate soft to the tooth?
- Textured or smooth?
- Did the chocolate melt in your mouth or dissolve over time?
- Milk, Semi, Dark Semi, Dark, Deeply Dark?
The point of this little exercise is that one thing that will make something great is how well it naturally aligns with your expectations. It’s also a good idea to every once in a while test your old favorites. How has your palate changed? Ponder how much the product might have changed in that time.
Buying Chocolate Truffles, Buyer Beware
As a consumer you are faced with a barrage of opportunities at buying sub-par products. Picking and choosing at most chains and grocers will leave you less than satisfied. Reading the label doesn’t illuminate much more either. Can you trace the chocolates origin? Is it even chocolate? Why was malt added? Where’s the chocolate and what is this
Industrial chocolate makers are tirelessly laboring to reduce cost while still giving some form of “chocolate experience”. The industry has found that it can add fillers like additional sugars, sucrose, cellulose and wheat fiber. These false agents can replace natural components. Add on to that heat and shelf stabilizers (the joys of science) which may make a product last a year, but should it?
Reducing the cost by removing a real sensory experience. It’s really a sad state of affairs and you have to be on your toes to find a real treat.
Source from Artisan Chocolate Makers
People who look at their craft like an art will lead you to great finds. If you want to find some real chocolate truffles, divine chocolate truffles, find your artisan chocolatier.
Artisan work is usually carried out as a small to mid-sized business. You can’t exactly keep making things by hand when you’ve gone large. Artisan chocolatiers usually support others in their area and source more local for their ingredients. They also work at making products with a more traditional approach and time tested recipes.
Passion in, passion out.
Keep an eye out in your paper during the holidays and gift giving seasons and you’ll see writeups of area shops. It’s one of the easier ways of finding new places to visit in your area.
Of course if you’re looking for chocolate in Charlotte or just want to support us, The Secret Chocolatier, we always appreciate it.
It’s a good idea to investigate your local farmers markets too. I’ve found many a delightful confection at the markets with usually the maker and a great story to go with it.
Searching more online you can support new up and comers like Forte Chocolates or the mature Recchiuti. The point is to treat yourself with something special and memorable. If you are just eating filler from others what kind of worth are you really setting for yourself?
Do It Yourself! Making Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate truffle making is not very complicated & everyone does it a bit differently. That’s what makes it an art. You can tinker with (in our case) cream / butter / chocolate ratios to get a consistency you are looking for but people often miss sourcing their own quality goods. It’s silly! If you’re going to go through the time to make something homemade–do it right, buy good ingredients!
Do I need good chocolate?
Seriously? Robin’s been fielding some DIY questions on Twitter lately and the final results have been to the tune of, ‘It was a great attempt but I think I need better chocolate.’ Well of course!
One place we’ll often source samples from is Chocosphere. They import quite a few hard to find chocolate from around the world. With this comes a caveat, it’s not all about the brand, it’s about the taste. Being that there are so many tastes out there you should order a sampling of a few chocolates and find what you like.
Quality, Quality, Quality
When searching for great chocolate truffles (or making your own) you have to find those who believe in uncompromising quality. As soon as quality is sacrificed for cost or industrial distribution you are quickly sloping towards something below average. Look for those who put their passions and knowledge of the craft into their products and I guarantee you’ll never go wrong.
Oh, and if you find something delicious, let me know. I love going on chocolate truffle tours!