This weekend was Portland Chocolate Fest and I had the very lovely surprise of being able to see my friends Aaron & Karl of Intrigue Chocolates, based in Seattle. In addition being able to see these guys in person (which hasn't happened in a few years, I just realised!), I was able to pick up a sampling of the yummy truffles that had available for the show.
Here's my little box of assorted colorful truffles. Aaron uses interesting spices and liqueurs in his truffles to create flavors that are (wait for it....) intriguingly subtle and ever so delightful.
This isn't a "you never know what you're gonna get" kind of box of chocolates. I was able to choose which flavors I wanted and how many of each. Naturally, I got at least one of each of the available flavors (I think they were out of the Orange You Glad truffles) and two of the ones I really liked. You can see from this color-coded legend that several of these flavors are unexpected, to say the least. Douglas Fir Brandy, anyone? Aaron has an amazing gift for choosing and balancing flavors, thankfully. The Tannenbaum truffle (flavored with brandy infused with douglas fir buds), for example, doesn't taste at all like you're chewing on pine needles--which is what a lot of people expected when they heard the flavor description! "It's not like you're eating pine-flavored chocolate; it's like you're eating chocolate under a pine tree," Aaron explained. It's very true; the flavor had only the tiniest hint of pine 'flavoring'. In fact, it was more like I was tasting yummy chocolate and happened to catch a faint whiff of pine--almost more of a fragrance than a flavor.
I think my favorite of this group would have to be the Tasmanian Pepperberry. The flavor is as delightful as anything you'd expect from Intrigue Chocoloates, & it's something that those of us who live outside of Australia aren't likely to be able to experience very often. The spice is from Southern Australia & isn't imported to the U.S. very often. Aaron found a source in Seattle and used it to create a really lovely truffle. The name "pepperberry" definitely fits the flavor. The peppercorn-esque warmth & lovely berry flavor are deliciously unassuming in this truffle, though not as understated as the flavor of Tannenbaum. This truffle still gives the sense that you're experiencing a flavor to revel in, as opposed to popping candy in your mouth.
Unfortunately, I was too saturated with chocolate (yes, it is possible!) after sampling chocolates at the festival to think to open one of these to enjoy tonight. I promise you can look forward to pics of the actual scrumptious truffles soon, though!