We're so excited the holiday season that I couldn't just create one flavor for the holidays. And these are traditional favorites with a modern look.
The Peppermint truffle takes a dark chocolate ganache made with our French 56% dark chocolate and we fold in a natural peppermint oil. It may be the perfect ending for too much holiday food since peppermint is known to settle tummies. Or at least that's what heard in the kitchen!
The second flavor is our Eggnog truffle. It's a local eggnog, brandy and a splash of cinnamon. While the peppermint may be a cooling flavor, this one will certainly warm you up! Just in time since it's snowing as I'm writing this.
I'm keeping this short - 'tis the season for me to be working like crazy. And so off I go!
For our next Sugar Love University course, we're exploring New World (Latin) flavors since that's where our chocolate obsession began and that's where some interesting things are now happening in the food world. The jungles of the Central America and the deep forests of the Amazons are beginning to shine again for their interesting ingredients and flavor profiles. Let's discover a small portion of those together at our event that we're pairing with Branded Hearts Distillery (click here for tickets).
So what spices have we chosen for the Spiced Truffle this month? A wonderful and dark, almost raisin-like, sweet and very-long tasting heat. There is a reason why this pepper is often paired with duck, mushrooms and lamb. Then, because most people are expecting a kick from something called a Spiced Truffle, a dash of cayenne pepper is added for that necessary punch.
This is a long flavor profile in your mouth. If you purchase several flavors - make sure to have this last. Not necessarily because it will over-power the others, but because the full flavor takes quite a while to develop on your palate. This is a flavor that rewards, and rewards slowly for those that will wait patiently. Oh and it goes perfectly with a black coffee or a highlands Scotch. Yum!
Oh my goodness!
Fantasies in Chocolate was amazing! This annual chocolate-worshipping event in Reno, Nevada was actually our debut in 2015. So to return was an amazing feeling!
This year’s theme for Fantasies in Chocolate was Diamonds and Pearls, like old Hollywood glitz and glam. As soon as I heard the theme, I immediately knew our booth should be themed as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Not only are diamonds and pearls involved, but a retro sense of style and high-fashion pervade the movie and what I wanted our booth to be.
And how do you create flavor for an event of this description? While diamonds and pearls are beautiful decorations, they certainly are not an inspiration for confections. Hard, yet beautiful gems? I was stumped.
But if my inspiration was Holly Golightly, what would she do? Well while she drank bourbon in the movie at her lowest point, she was fabulously in love with the city and borough of Manhattan. What’s also known as a Manhattan? The drink of course!
So I ended up making a dark, sweet cherry jam with orange bitters for the top layer and then made a layer of dark chocolate ganache with Dickel rye whiskey. A Manhattan in a chocolate!
Why the polka dot decorations? Because Holly Golightly said that diamonds only look good on a woman over forty. And well, Sugar Love just turned one - so pearls (or dots) it is!
Pears are one of my favorite fruits, and they are just coming into season! Is there a better time to celebrate them?
Pears come into season in the fall and are available almost all winter. And while the Barlett pear is probably the most common in the produce aisle, there is a wonderful variety of pears available this time of year. But which one to use in our truffle? Time for a tasting!
Did I mention how hard being a chocolatier is?? haha
So which pear was the winner? The tiny little Seckel pear packs the perfect sweet punch with a firm but not grainy texture. Read more about the seckel variety from the Pear Bureau Northwest.
So I pair this fresh pureed pear with a great Spiced Pear Liqueur from St George Spirits in Alameda, California (see a review of the spirit here) within a Belgian milk chocolate ganache. Soft texture, sweet pear and a slight heat from the cinnamon and clove to finish. This truffle makes me ready for fall!
Our flavor of the month is an exploration of texture in chocolate for our upcoming Sugar Love University course: Seminar in Textures. Crème brûlée is traditionally topped with a hard sugar shell that is too fun to crack with your spoon. And then the soft creaminess of the custard below is amazing. So how to recreate it?
I think we've gotten pretty close with this! A white chocolate and Madagascar vanilla make for a creamy ganache center. Then separately, I've torched a vanilla bean sugar for the topping. It gives a wonderful crunch to an otherwise smooth truffle experience. And because a flame melts the sugars for the topping, you get that flavor that a crème brûlée has from the same process.
Being the ever-critic of my own work, I would have liked to get that eggy, custard-like flavor for the center but I couldn't figure out a way to get that without needing to worry about refrigeration. Real crème brûlées are stored in the fridge until they are coated with sugar, torched and served. While my chocolates need to be kept at roughly room temperature (they're happiest from about 55-70 degrees) and need to last for 2-3 weeks from the time you purchase. Hrm... a problem I hope to solve one day! If you have any suggestions on how to potentially make these more custard-like in taste - shoot me an email at krysta (a) sugarlovechocolates.com
Oh and as always - here's a photo of my "research" - this is a crème brûlée from Wild River Grill which is right across the street in downtown Reno, Nevada. Also, they serve some of the best dry-aged steaks in town.
Sugar Love Chocolate's Release Party for the 2016 Artist Collection was this past Tuesday, July 12th. The Artist Collection features the work of five Reno area artist on the top of five unique recipes. Each confection was crafted to match the interpreted mood of the artwork or the tastes of the artist for a truly unique box of chocolates. These limited edition boxes will be available for purchase in the retail location and online until the end of July 2016.
A three-piece jazz band created an amazing atmosphere for the event which was held in the Basement of the Old Post Office. Roughly four dozen attendees mingled with artists while trying the chocolates for the first time and sampling delicious small bites from Blend Catering. Five wines from Southern Wine were paired with each creation (and some Arnold Palmers for those of us spending the night sober).
It was the launch party for the Artist Collection and yet it felt like a celebratory finale for me. This was a major project and expense to take on, especially when I gave myself such little time to get it together (note to future self: take like three or more months, not five weeks, to get this done!). If you are interested in future events like this, make sure to stay in the loop by signing up for our newsletter!
Enjoy some of the photos taken on that day!
Every month, I love to create a new recipe for the store. For June, with Father's Day coming up, I made the Maple Bacon truffle. Because dads love bacon, right? And I know they love chocolate as they tell me all the time - it's helpful having a store next to a great barber.
And yes - it has bacon in it! I use a slightly dehydrated bacon that's in small diced chunks. The maple syrup (which also acts as this recipe's preservative) is boiled for two minutes to reduce the amount of water for a stronger maple flavor. The two are then mixed into a milk chocolate ganache made from the Belgian milk chocolate.
The result is a warm flavor with the taste of maple first and then the last flavor is of the bacon as you chew its texture. It's an interesting one for sure! And only available during June 2016 and by special order after July 1st.
Holy moly! It's already our first anniversary of filing the legal paperwork that made Sugar Love an almost reality! And now the store has been open 90 days which definitely has made Sugar Love an actual reality :) So much can and has changed in a year and I'm so thankful for all the support you and so many others have shown me in the last year of ups and downs. THANK YOU!
Now that I've got this store up and running - what's on the agenda? Besides creating new and surprising flavors (Peruvian ground cherries!), I'm working on writing that darned tome of a business plan. It's necessary in order to get a small business loan to expand into my own commercial kitchen (hopefully this summer) and maybe even that second location in the Bay Area (this fall maybe??).
So if you drop by the store and I'm typing away on my laptop, no I'm not *just* on Facebook, I'm likely also working on my 27th spreadsheet of possible scenarios for Sugar Love to dominate the world! (insert evil laugh track here)
This past weekend I got the opportunity to go to the Bay Area for two reasons: to attend one of the largest food conventions in the world and to scope out potential second locations! I found this awesome place called Swan's Market in Oakland and fell in love.
Did you know that today is the first day of my last semester in the master's program at UNR? Thank goodness! And also ack!!
I've decided on the two special recipes for February and have a good idea of what the production schedule is going to look like for the next few weeks - but I'm a little nervous! If you could take this survey, it will really help me out with planning for my first ever Valentine's Day rush!
What a great time we had at Fantasies in Chocolate! And I have such great friends that helped out :)