Some people are concert groupies. My little sister is obsessed with One Direction and goes to all their concerts in a 300-mile radius to get a glimpse at their gangly British lust-filled faces. My mom has seen The Killers more times than most self-described "hardcore" college students. And hell, I've been known to take off my undershirt for Steely Dan. But I'm not really a concert groupie. I'm a chocolate groupie. My panties have dropped for truffles. I breathlessly moan when an interesting chocolate bar emerges on the scene. For me, it's just as fascinating of a treat as wine (see my flavonoids post here if you're curious about the science behind it) but almost better, because while it's generally frowned upon to add pop rocks, sea salt, and peppercorns to a bottle of '59 Haut-Brion, you're practically encouraged to do so with the creme de la creme of single-origin chocolate. And that, for me, is a win-win situation.
I recently got an enormous and varied package from a company I've lusted over, Dude, Sweet Chocolate. Based out of Texas, their chocolatier, owner, and mad scientist Kathleen Clapner is someone I'd like to introduce Wylie Dufresne to. Woman knows her pairings. From porcini and pepita toffee to blue cheese and sea salt fudge, this little store is turning a world populated with Hershey bars and Russell Stover samplers upside-down. Case in point? The Stephan Pyle truffle. A man after my own heart, a heart stuffed with foie gras, chocolate, and bergamot.
These go beyond the gaudy trend of stuffing truffle oil, bacon, gold leaf, and pickled leprechaun feet into average-quality ingredients to drive the price and prestige up. These are subtle. You'll take a bite, absorbing the licorice-bittersweet bite of the bergamot, both floral and spicy, and suddenly, a pause. Was that meat you just tasted? It most certainly was. The bittersweet chocolate recedes, unfolding to reveal a subtle salinity and definite creamy, fatty edge. It's incredibly smooth, completely integrated with the chocolate ganache, and, were it not for a slightly smoky, steak-like flavor lingering on the palate, could easily be attributed to the dark chocolate itself. I like the subtleties in these, because they both meshed and deviated from the nuances we typically associate with fine dark chocolate. And need I bring up that the packaging appeals to all of my aesthetic values? Industrial butcher paper block lettering for the win.
I need you to buy these. I need everyone to be aware of and feel the utter euphoria that seeps through my body, like a dog receiving a belly rub, when I eat these truffles. I'm not related to the company, my money isn't tied up in stock, I'm not looking to suck up (though if you need another truffle inspiration, I'm thinking Foodette's Last Stand would include salted caramel, bacon, smoked jalapenos, and raspberries) but I know a good product when I see it.
It's a restless, relentless feeling that invades my thoughts and penetrates the nooks and crannies of my mouth, my tastebuds aflame. When you simplify it, it boils down to my core principles of satisfaction: if it entices both the brain and the palate, it can change your life for the better.
Labels: 10, chocolate, dessert, snack