Whew!Â Just finished tasting 33 flavors of ganache.Â And I am TOTALLY wired on all that sugar.
I’ll spare you the complete set of tasting notes, but the highlights of the evening were:
- dried figs + white chocolate + Grande Champagne Reserve Cognac – the grand winner, hands down.Â I could eat it all night – hey, gimme that spoon!Â Fruity and rich, with the warm scent of vanilla underlying the Cognac.
- guava + white chocolate – deliciously fragrant with guava and vanilla.Â Not the guava juice you buy in stores, which has had the “nose” cooked out of it, but with the aromatics of fresh guava.Â Fantastic.
- guava + lemon verbena + white chocolate – also excellent, the two flavors complement each other nicely
- saffron + dark chocolate – a rich, almost honeyed taste with wonderful floral fragrance
- dark chocolate + Scotch – trialed ten of them, the best of the commercial whiskies was MacAllan 12.Â However, I am going to use a bottle of Scottish Malt Whisky Society 19.36 for the final flavoring, as it came out on top in the taste tests – rich Scotch flavor + a very long finish.Â Could use MacAllan 12, as it was nearly as good, but I wanted to use something different this year.Â (If you are interested in what the Scottish Malt Whisky Society has to say about 19.36, you can read their tasting notes here.)
I did try the fresh figs + port + ganache, but unfortunately in the concentrations of dark chocolate I need to use in order to keep things from spoiling, the fresh figs were undetectable.Â With the dried figs, the dried Kadota (green) figs came out a little bitter, so I went with the dried Mission black figs.Â In dark chocolate, hard to make out (though a little figginess came through at the end), but married very well with white chocolate, and when I added some Cognac, my God! sheer joy.Â I was and am thrilled with the end result and will certainly include it in this year’s boxes.
The Oregon black truffles were a disappointment – they were not clearly discernible in either white or milk chocolates, and only faintly discernible in the dark chocolate, though it did provide a bright berry note.Â Since this is the second time I’ve tried truffles, with the same result, I don’t think I’ll trial them again.Â The results didn’t taste bad or anything – just gets overpowered by the chocolate.
I have also received four books that are adding to my totally-wiredness!Â The first two are digital photography books that Daryl Lancaster recommended in Weavezine – books on photographing crafts/textiles.Â But the second two! I think I’ve died and gone to Heaven.Â The first is Chocolates and Confections, which is the textbook the Culinary Institute of America uses to teach its course on, well, chocolates and confections; the second is Fine Chocolates: Great Experience by Jean Pierre Wybauw, who I think heads up a department at Callebaut chocolates.Â Both are textbooks that provide ALL the details on how to make virtually every type of candy.Â (I particularly intend to peruse their fudge section, and of course the truffle/bonbon pages.)Â I plan to read them both cover to cover – though I may have to make the time, since I have so much going on already!
Lastly, I had the pleasure of meeting Syne Mitchell, editor of WeaveZine, today.Â We have a lot in common, and it was a lot of fun to talk to her.Â Hopefully we’ll meet again in the near future!