I wanted to give you clean and beautiful photos, but I couldn't help myself.
One second, I was munching on this vegan toffee. And the next second, this.And that's all she wrote.
I guess it's one interesting instance when I ate my own homework, but you guys will never accept that. Le sigh.
So, this maddeningly good toffee, among other candies, was made by Wingnut Confections out of Portland, Oregon. I got a chance to try a selection of their finest and report back. So, let's start with my favorite, because I've already completely decimated it.
This is actually a coconut toffee, and the way it's cut makes it look as though it could be bought by the square foot, like sheet rock or shag carpet, and as soon as I took it out of the package, the scent was...strange and intoxicating. It took on this slightly spicy smell, and then, a nice, mellow, roundabout with the dark chocolate. It was beautiful, even before biting into it.
And then I actually ate it. The texture was crisp and condensed, and the dark chocolate on the outside melted perfectly. The coconut flavor was subtle, but mixed in well with the other flavors, and I was glad that it was an oil instead of flakes, because that would have interfered with the absolute perfection of the rest of it.The toffee itself wasn't too thick, and it crunched so well, with sweet, grainy sugar, but the real aspect that put it all together was the toasted pumpkin seeds. The seeds were slightly spicy and added a natural crunch to the toffee that really made a great experience to taste. It was definitely original, and like nothing I'd have expected before.David, the chocolatier, also sent me two flavors of candied hazelnuts. One was a candied hazelnut, and one was chocolate covered. Each hazelnut was large and round and perfect for just popping into my mouth. It was an excellent snack, and I could see these being versatile for just eating as an afternoon indulgence or as a topping for a nice dessert.
The chocolate covered hazelnuts had a nice, slightly burnt aroma and flavor, and that was sweetened in part by the chocolate, but not too much because it was a nice bittersweet chocolate powder coating it.
The hazelnuts were toasted well, and broke cleanly in my mouth without having a too burnt or too raw flavor. The candied inside added a fantastic crunch similar to the toffee, and it sweetened up the candy and made a perfect bite to pop into my mouth.The candied hazelnuts didn't have chocolate, but they had a really bumpy texture and a hint of vanilla. While I wasn't as keen on the combination of the sugar and the hazelnuts, reminding me of the standard New York City Nuts 4 Nuts carts, it was still a pretty classic treat and the sugar coating wasn't too hard.Again, the hazelnuts were prepared perfectly, and each one was a very good size. No skimpy nuts here, people. Overall, like the chocolate hazelnuts, a good snack, though I might be inclined to recommend this one for portability, as the chocolate dust tends to spread on one's hands.The last confection I reviewed was a six piece collection of truffles in an assortment of flavors. Like the other candies, these are all vegan! The truffle flavor selection was rather exotic, and I found myself pleased with the derivation from the usually pedantic flavors that the majority of companies, like Russel Stover and such, put out with their things.Earl Grey was definitely my favorite. There was a strong flavor of bergamot within the ganache, yet not so much that it overpowered the chocolate. The orange notes were fantastic, and there was a slight crunch in the outer garnishes of the chocolate, the orange zest. Really swell. 9
The habanero mole truffle was another big hit, though in this one, the ganache was a little drier, and definitely chalked off more. That really affected my thoughts on the truffle, and although it did melt in my mouth eventually, it was a slower melt, and the burn got really pronounced within that timeframe. A strange flavor, with the mole tastes almost turning musty, and while I can't say that I didn't like it, it wasn't exactly my favorite. Still spicy, though, and the sesame seeds were a fantastic combination. 5
I also tried a Thai chili truffle, which had accents of coconut, chili, ginger, and lime, but all I really tasted was the chili. Considering how pronounced the coconut flavor was with just a little bit of oil in the toffee, I would have liked to see more in the truffle. 4
The next truffle was a very tasty one, the peppermint truffle. I normally don't like the combination of chocolate and mint, preferring more nut blends, but this classic combination went well together, and it was a smooth flavor and finish. The mint was crisp and clean and the chocolate was undoctored and plain, allowing the flavors to come out in the clearest of ways. 8
Following that was a marion berry truffle. I wasn't really on top of this one, because it had the same chalky texture as the mole truffle, and the berry flavor wasn't very pronounced. I don't know what a marion berry is, either, but I'd have liked to taste a little more of a textural difference, perhaps with some marion berry jelly instead of simply essence of the jelly itself. 4
Finally, we finished up the selection with the last truffle, the Oregon hazelnut rum truffle. Although I am nuts for Nutella, I was getting a little weary of the hazelnuts at this point, and would have appreciated cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, but this was a little too much. Thankfully, the hazelnuts provided a nice crunch, and the rum gave a luxurious and smooth boozy flavor to the truffle. I liked the ground up pieces of nut on top. 7
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