alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 
 V.17 No.7 | February 14 - 20, 2008 

Taste Test

Tickle Your Fancy, Suckle a Truffle

The Alibi chocolate truffle taste test

It's high truffle seasonnot the highly prized, exorbitantly priced fungus (that's October through December), but the highly prized, less exorbitantly priced little morsels of cocoa, sugar and cream. Chocolate truffles.

Because you can pick them up at stores all over town, they’re just what Doctor Love ordered for a last-minute Valentine’s gift. Or a belated "I'm sorry I forgot about Valentine's" gift. (It’s harder to stay angry when your mouth’s full of fudge.) But caveat emptor theobromachocolate buyer beware. Just because it has “truffle” in its name or comes with a big price tag doesn’t signify it's a quality confection.

Caveat emptor theobroma. Just because it has “truffle” in its name or comes with a big price tag doesn’t signify it's a quality confection.

Alibi Editor Christie Chisholm and new Copy Editor Erin Adair-Hodges joined me in a blind Alibi truffle taste test. There were two requirements: that they be "house brands" (made by or for the establishment that sells them) of “basic model” chocolate truffles. If a plain truffle is good, imagine what sparks might fly with a few extra ingredients.

Two local truffle makers, Enchantment Chocolates and Chocolate Café and Bakery, couldn't figure in to our results because their filled and flavored truffles didn't meet the "no frills" stipulation. We eventually winnowed our chocolate pool down to seven truffle makers, all vying for your Valentine's heart. We were surprised by the results. Three clear winners came out on top for three different reasons.

Theobroma’s perfectly poised chocolate
Tina Larkin
Theobroma’s perfectly poised chocolate

The Classic

Theobroma Chocolatier
$4.70 for four truffles

Like a chic black dress, something this well-made and elegant never goes out of style. Its "compact" and "polished appearance" is offset by a judicious dusting of chocolate flecks. We flipped for what tasted like fresh ingredients, and for the truffle's smooth, double-walled constructiona milk outer, a darker chocolate inner. "This inconspicuous detail lent complexity in taste and structure," Christie observed. "The buttery, caramel-like center dissolved in the mouth almost instantly, [with a] delicate, fading aftertaste. I felt satisfied when finished, but wouldn't have refused a whole box-full." Erin, impressed by how "not overwhelming or showy" these luxurious details were, likened it to "the Matt Damon of truffles."

The Candy Lady pushes all the right buttons.
Tina Larkin
The Candy Lady pushes all the right buttons.

The Sexy Little Number

The Candy Lady
$4.28 for four truffles

Without knowing these medium-sized, deep chocolate truffles had been made by the The Candy Lady (aka Debbie Ball, the Mother of Naughty Desserts), Christie pegged it. "This was an interactive experience that embraced all meanings of the word 'sensual.' Downright titillating." Its dark chocolate shell was "obviously handmade with molds, which crafted a pleasantly suggestive sundial," and had notes of softened Amaretto, vanilla and spice. Biting into it was a pleasurelike a lover in a romance novel, it resisted coyly but only fleetingly. Ultimately, it succumbed to a rich, fudge brownie-like center that "suggests cake without being cake" to Erin. These "generous" levels engaged Erin's attention like George Clooney. Place these truffles on pillows for a memorable turndown service.

Trader Joe’s truffle loves you, too.
Tina Larkin
Trader Joe’s truffle loves you, too.

The Wine Lover

Trader Joe's French Organic Chocolate Truffle, Original
$3.79 for a box of 27 truffles

"Wine me, dine me," Trader Joe’s nude, European-style truffles coo. There's no chocolate coating on these French babiesonly "redolent" cocoa powder that braces the tongue with a satin-gloved slap. Don't be frightened. The pungent bolt is gone as quickly as it comes on. "Once you're there, the texture is like how silk would taste," Christie wrote, "and the insinuative flavors keep you coming back." Buttery and complex, Erin thought this truffle "begs for wine, a fireplace and possibly a camel ride" with smoky foreign actor Omar Sharif. Pair it with something better than TJ's Three Buck Chuck.

Godiva’s a beauty queen, but it lacks character.
Tina Larkin
Godiva’s a beauty queen, but it lacks character.

Also Recommended

Godiva

$7.05 for four truffles

When stripped of its big name in our blind tasting, this "standard-bearer" of chocolates was, well, pretty standard, but still beautiful to behold. The aroma was "like Easter chocolate: confection-y, sucrose-laden, unremarkable," said Christie. "Still, the taste was agreeable if not memorable, and the truffle benefited from tiny pieces of what looked like toffee mixed in the center."

Whole Foods 365 Organic Chocolate Truffles

$4.49 for a box of 27 truffles

Like the Trader Joe's truffle, this supermarket brand is also organic and a product of France. We found the taste to be simpler and sweeter than the other European truffle we tried, with a smooth texture that crumbled slightly toward the end. "Not as dangeroussomeone my mom would say [about], "Oh, I love him!" Erin wrote. Kind of like Antonio Banderas to TJ's Sharif.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

$8.34 for four truffles

These truffles are oversized and uncomplicated, almost like a candy bar. "The shell looks unfortunately like a Milky Way bar on bottom, and the smell and taste isn't much different. Wait--did someone wad a Milky Way into a ball and call it a truffle?" wondered Christie. "The experience wasn't offensive, but I felt guilty eating it--an indulgence that wasn't worth the cost, financially or physically." If you're going for an impressively large treat, this is it.

Avoid

Target Choxie Chocolate Flaky Truffles

$5 for a box of 12 truffles

Of the grocery store house-brands, this was the most expensive. It was also the most disappointing of the whole lot. "Looks like a turd rolled around on the forest floor," Christie deadpanned. "For decoration, it was rolled in monochromatic chocolate flakes, but the result was unsettling." It tasted like eating a stick of butterin all the wrong ways. Erin concluded, "If I lived in a village where everyone had to make truffles, but I was boring and lazy, I would make this truffle."

The price of truffles bought at grocery stores do not include sales tax.

 

Today's Events

2nd Annual Harvest Fest at Santa Fe Community College

Tomorrow's Events

Zia-Bernalillo Farmers Market at Zia-Bernalillo Farmers Market

Saturday

Lions, Tigers & Beers at ABQ BioPark Zoo

Featuring mouthwatering craft beers and microbrews on tap, with live music, BBQ and more.

More Recommented Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    GASLAMP KILLER
    GASLAMP KILLER10.18.2014