Monday, July 20, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

I love chocolate truffles. I like the high percentage of real chocolate, the dusting of cocoa powder, the occasional spicing-up with some other compatible flavour. If I had the metabolism of a man half my age, I'd eat more of them.

But I remember the scandals of the past, in which horrible people with uncouth and disgusting ways adulterated their chocolate truffles with vegetable oil. I grimace at the thought, and beg the pardon of all those who just grimaced with me. Such an idea simply offends the sensibilities of the normal chocolate consumer, let alone someone who has his heart set on truffles.

It's like that with the various research targets that I've been looking at so far. Without naming names, I've seen a few that can be usefully seen through the lens of a chocolate-lover.

There's the one with the beautiful box touting liqueur-filled truffles, but which is a bit past its sell-by date. The contents are dry, the liqueur (if there ever was any) has left a ghost of its presence which might as well have been artificial flavouring. Fortunately, the quality of the chocolate is undoubtedly good, so despite the false advertising, you can still enjoy the base material.

There's the one which says it is chocolate-flavoured truffles. That particular line has already lowered your expectations, but forunately, they are being honest and if you imagine that what you are eating is not chocolate to begin with, then it tastes a lot better than not-chocolate and you don't mind that it tastes quite ordinary.

There's the one which comes with a nice package which doesn't quite say what's in the box. But you assume it must be something good, given the artist's impression. Inside, you find truffles. They smell like truffles and taste like truffles. The outside is dark, firm, smooth. You take your first bite, and it feels right. Then as the stuff melts on your tongue, you realise that it contains what is probably vegetable oil. It's too late to spit it out in polite company, so you are already committed. Smile, and say it isn't bad.

By the way, technically speaking, cocoa butter is indeed a vegetable fat. But it isn't a vegetable oil. Yuck. I am off to eat some good Euro-truffles from the age after the European Community did something to fix standards for chocolate. None of that terrible Hershey's or Van Houten for me, thank you very much.

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