Chocolate on the Half Shell?
It’s not every box of chocolates that comes bearing a label that reads: Contains milk, soy, pistachios, shellfish.
Uh, say what?
Leave it to Vosges, the cutting-edge chocolatier of Chicago, to come up with a truffle made with cream that’s been infused with Kumamoto oysters.
After all, this is the same chocolate-maker that’s found a way to incorporate bacon, Hungarian paprika, dried Kalamata olives, and Taleggio cheese into confections in the past.
And what could be more perfect for Valentine’s Day than a truffle that is flavored with what’s considered one of the most potent aphrodisiacs around?
Recently, I had a chance to try a sample.
I’ll use my patented scale of 1 to 10 lip-smackers, with 1 being the “Bleh, save your money” far end of the spectrum; 5 being the “I’m not sure I’d buy it, but if it was just there, I might nibble some” middle-of-the-road response; and 10 being the “My gawd, I could die now and never be happier, because this is the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth” supreme ranking.
Vosges Sweet Coquette Collection: Four perfectly spherical truffles come wrapped in a glam deep purple box tied with a ribbon. Of course, I had to try the oyster one first, because how can you not be intrigued by a chocolate-flavored bivalve? Nope, a shucked oyster doesn’t come tumbling out of the white chocolate truffle when you bite into it. Instead, there’s a white creamy filling inside. If I didn’t know oysters had infused the cream, I probably never would have guessed at their presence. You don’t taste anything remotely fishy or briny. The white chocolate is fairly sweet, so that mitigates some of the nuances. There is a slight savory, and sweet-salty quality to this truffle. It has a pleasant taste, making it definitely more than a novelty.
The Piper Heidsieck Brut Rose Champagne truffle is rolled in rose buds, making it look a little like potpourri. The rose flavor is pronounced, reminding me of some Middle Eastern desserts. You definitely have to be a fan of floral to love this truffle.
The Bronte also has a little rose water in it, but the flavor is subtle, mixed with pistachio paste and creamy, silky milk chocolate. The Mamajuana truffle might be my favorite — infused with rum, spices, dark chocolate and chamomile for a complex explosion of fruit, earth, and bitterness.
A four-piece box is $12. Rating: 7 lip-smackers.