Since it’s that time of year again, I’m collecting “interesting” ideas for truffle flavors, as well as shopping for old flavors. (If you have any off-the-wall ideas, please share ’em in the comments section – thanks!) Today I went to Peet’s and bought (of course) some more of their Yin Hao Jasmine tea, as well as some of their Panama Esmeralda coffee. Peet’s has this to say about its Panama Esmeralda coffee:
“Characterized by an unforgettable jasmine-like fragrance and pristine citrus clarity, this coffee has garnered 10 first place awards in the last 4 years. Only 215 sacks of this rare coffee were produced in 2007. As the original buyer of this remarkable coffee, Peet’s purchased 50 sacks in advance of the harvest, enabling us to offer it at the same price as last year. After the harvest, a select ten sacks of Panama Esmeralda Geisha auctioned for $130 per pound unroasted, and was judged the best coffee in Panama.”
I bought half a pound and am going to try it. If I like it, I think I may mix it with a Valrhona Ivoire (white chocolate) ganache and use Valrhona Tanariva milk chocolate on the outside – the caramel overtones of the Tanariva should complement the coffee without overwhelming it, and the Ivoire would add a nice vanilla flavor. I may test, though, and try it with white, milk, and dark chocolates to see what I like best. (I’m not super-fond of coffee with dark chocolate as I feel the coffee flavor gets a little lost in the dark chocolate…but then, I also like my coffee with cream and sugar.)
I think I may also try the Panama Esmeralda in fudge, maybe a mocha fudge – I’ll have to taste and contemplate some more. Until I know more about how it brews up, it’ll be impossible to say for sure.
Peet’s also has sporadic coffee-and-tea tastings in San Francisco, and I think I will probably attend one. Last year I tried a comparative tasting of three different kinds of green tea truffles, and was astonished at how different they were – some grassy, some nutty, some with floral aromas. This year I’m tempted to try a little bit of several oolong and black teas, and see how they come out – but I need to taste them and think about how they would work with the various lines of Valrhona. Hmm – a repeat trip to Made in France may be necessary, to buy some Tanariva milk chocolate and some Araguani dark chocolate – the smoky overtone might be just the thing with an oolong or black tea.
I have also tasted the two new Grand Crus, Alpaco and Tainori, from the equator and the Dominican Republic, respectively. Alpaco has a distinct milky overtone, and a cool flavor. Tainori has a strong nutty flavor, reminiscent of pistachios. Once they’re actually available I may buy some Tainori to go with a nut filling.