I haven't had much time to blog about chocolate recently. Work, beer dinners, charity auctions, a trip to Belgium, and next week a trip to Denver. I have been incredibly backlogged. But I haven't forgotten about a very special package sent to me by William Curley in London.
A while back, I wrote a rather harsh review of one of his chocolate bars. A friend of mine stormed London and brought back over 50 bars of chocolate for me. WC was definitely on the list. The Caramel Sea Salt bar from WC was fantastic. But one of the bars of chocolate was off. I stand by the review.
Mr. Curley had seen the review and offered to send a replacement. Sending things overseas is a big deal to me. Not only did he send a replacement bar, but two other caramel bars, caramelized hazelnuts, and a box of assorted truffles.
Way above and beyond customer service. These things really matter. Yes, if something is off most people do expect some sort of compensation. I am just not one of these people who demands it unless the service has been really bad or the person behind it is unworthy or rude. William Curley couldn't be more gracious. I am grateful for such a nice package.
This a serious assortment of truffles too. Interesting and unusual flavors not to mention WC uses famed Amedei chocolate for his coverture chocolate.* Every truffle contains butter, cream, and invert sugar. May contain nuts, sesame seeds, wheat, alcohol, honey, and gold leaf.
Made with Chuao cacao (Criollo) from Amedei in Italy. 70% dark chocolate from the Chuao peninsula of Venezuela and topped with a small hint of gold flakes. Amedei is considered by me and many around the world to be one of the finest chocolate makers in the world WC uses their chocolate as couverture chocolate. Amedei Chuao is widely considered one of the best chocolates in the world and have won many awards for this chocolate. Chuao beans are also considered to be some of the worlds most rare and finest cacao.
Soft, smooth texture, slightly tangy, rich, buttery, and creamy filling with hints of pepper and honey. (Some flavor profiles may be because of direct contact with other truffles in the box.)
Normally I find beer and chocolate a much more suitable match. I think this is a red wine truffle all the way. This truffle is complex and almost a little savory.
Raspberry & Toscano
Half raspberry gelee filling topped with a layer of soft truffle filling made with Amedei Toscano (Criollo, Trinitario blend) 70% dark chocolate.
Soft, creamy and delicate chocolate filling on top of a sweet raspberry gelee square with the seeds in it. Natural flavors make this more sweet and fruity than tangy. Chocolate is sweeter and softer than the Amedei Chuao.
Very, very nice truffle.
Super soft center slightly sunken in shell top, light and delicate mint flavor, bright but not overwhelming, brief tangy sharpness up front to this truffle, smooth and creamy texture. Slightly milky after taste on the chocolate.
Once again, a very nice truffle. Subtle minty flavors and uncomplicated cocoa flavors.
Soft, gooey center, tangy. At first I thought this was the Heather and Thyme truffle. The caramel had honey like flavors and herb tastes that were similar to flavors found in beer. Naturally I thought it was the heather but the thyme flavors were virtually nil. And identified the thyme and heather truffle later on. It could be a small taste of the Assam caramel bar! I really hope it is, because it's quite delicious and would be amazing in a full bar.
Passion Fruit & Mango
This one was a big rough looking around the edges, but gorgeous in taste. A bit acidic and tart from the fruits, but softer passion fruit and mango flavors made for a lovely truffle and balanced the rich chocolate.
A nice little surprise with this one.
Apricot & Wasabi
Soft apricot gelee topped with a layer of soft ganache. Barely noticeable wasabi flavor. A bit disappointing with this one as I was expecting some heat. No heat and virtually no wasabi flavor. On the upside, it was still a delicious bite, with more focus on the cocoa flavors and stone fruit flavors.
Blackcurrent & Juniper Berry
Very nice truffle. Black current gelee topped with a juniper berry ganache. The flavors pop and are quite distinguishable, but do not linger and are not over powering. The rich chocolate is also not over powering. It's almost palate cleansing in a way as the rich flavors sort of cancel each other out. They make their presence known and then bow out to the other flavors.
Sea Salt Caramel
This is my favorite. As was the Sea Salt Caramel bar, this one is a small bit of that. Rich, super soft, buttery, and lightly salty caramel around a molded chocolate cover. The top design is covered with cocoa pods. This is the taste of Amedei that I love. Rich chocolate that takes it's time opening up so you are allowed to enjoy the caramel. Once you have been swept away by the rich caramel, the bold and savory cocoa flavors leave a lasting lingering finish.
This top shell design reminds me of beer rings or the logo of Camrbidge Brewing Co. I expected this to be a gianduja center but was delighted at the actual hazelnuts inside. Sweet and honey like flavors, a crispy hazelnut bottom, with a chocolate ganache top. Lovely and not heavy. Gianduja can sometimes be very rich. This was very sweet but light and delicious.
A nice break from all the soft textured truffles. Though the gelee centers have been very enjoyable.
Richmond Park Honey
Sweet and lightly tangy, buttery ganache with soft smooth finish. Very delicate with slight floral hints. This was one I was least impressed with flavor wise, but with the super high quality of these truffles, it's not like it's bad quality. Still has a rich cocoa flavor with a gorgeous buttery, and soft texture. Still fabulous.
I found the missing seeds from this truffle under the Piedmont Hazelnut. The toasted sesame seeds were nice with chocolate. They gave it almost a sesame seed brittle taste. However, the ganache center was very floral and citrus-y. Bright and but not tart ganache with lovely roasted cocoa.
Thyme and Scottish Heather Honey
Very herbal and flavorful. Not too cloying with the honey. The thyme comes out right up front finishing with a soft heather honey flavor. The herbal flavors roll nicely with the rich chocolate. A sweet lingering finish is left from the soft honey.
Once again, a very big thank you to William Curley for taking time out to send a lovely care package all this way. I am forever grateful and the truffles were to die for. Excellent quality. I can't wait until I am back in London so I can sit in his shop and have more of his fine offerings.
Look soon for me to post my notes from the Caramel bars and the house bar reviews part 2.