Just in time for Valentine’s Day, two of the country’s premier artisan chocolatiers are offering up special truffles sure to sweeten the holiday.
I was lucky enough to score some samples recently.
First up, Utah’s Amano Artisan Chocolate, which has long been known for its fantastic, complex-tasting chocolate bars. Now, it’s turning its hand to crafting truffles, too.
The elegant chocolate bonbons come in a variety of geometric shapes, some dusted with gold dust or dashes of bold color.
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.
Amano Artisan Chocolate Collection: The outer shells are nicely thin and the interiors smooth and soft. With so many other truffles, the exterior chocolate shells serve just to encase the more interesting ganache interiors. Not so with Amano’s truffles. The fillings are wonderful, to be sure. But the milk and dark chocolate shells are also something special. You can actually taste their fruity, almost wine-y notes even through the various fillings. This is a rare case in which the outside of a truffle not only stands up to what’s inside, but is its equal.
Among my favorites in this collection were the Sidr Honey, a dark chocolate truffle filled with ganache made with rich, woodsy honey from Yemen, which is the world’s priciest. It’s an explosion of spice that just lingers and lingers. I also adored the Cinnamon Pecan, made with Guayas dark chocolate, filled with spicy, bold cinnamon ganache and topped with a crunchy, caramelized pecan. A 12-piece box is $24.99. Ranking:9 lip-smackers.
Next up, Recchiuti of San Francisco, which has been a local favorite since it was established in 1997.
New for the holiday is its box of chocolates with hand-illustrated red, white and black hearts and lips.
Just to entice you even more, Recchiuti is offering a 20 percent discount off all products online for orders placed by Feb. 10 and scheduled for delivery on or before Feb. 11. Use the code, “Kiss Me,” at checkout.
Recchiuti Hearts & Arrows Box: The colorful, pop-art doodles adorn square truffles filled with Recchiuti’s signature burnt caramel. I can see why it’s become a signature. This is one sexy chocolate. My eyes practically rolled back into my head upon the first silky bite of this mousse-like ganache. The flavor is a powerhouse of burnt sugar, earthiness, bitterness, and even espresso. This is a chocolate you eat slowly to savor each and every bite. A nine-piece box is $25. Ranking: 10 lip-smackers.