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.
This month’s special flavor is the Rosemary Olive Oil truffle in a dark chocolate ganache made from our French dark chocolate. I’ve enjoyed the reactions that people have had as I told them I’m working on this recipe. There’s a mixture of confusion, distrust but mostly pure excitement at trying something so out-of-the-ordinary.
And in my eyes, this is such a natural flavor combination. The savory oil adds a wonderful balance to the slightly fruit-forward French dark chocolate that I use in most of my confections. To match the sensory expectation when someone hears of oil, I tried out a new (and somewhat old) technique called slab ganache. It’s very similar to my piped ganache recipes, however, because you are not agitating the ganache constantly with your hands as you work, the fat emulsion is allowed to form very long chains. This gives a longer, silkier mouthfeel to the recipe.
The oil that I use is from Calivirgin which exclusively uses olives grown on their own land in Lodi, California. The rosemary is added during the pressing of the olives for oil with bright and consistent rosemary flavor throughout.
This flavor, like all of our monthly special flavors of chocolates, is only available during the calendar month of August 2016. You can ask for it specifically in any box size, just leave a note for us on the order screen. And of course, you can come by and try it out. It will change how you think about chocolates!
Oh and here's a bonus inspiration photo which was of a wonderful organic vanilla soft serve ice cream with olive oil and large flaked sea salt that I had from Old Town Tap in Truckee, California after a long hike about a month ago.
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!
I feel like I've said that before - but we're almost open! I'm hoping that we'll be open on November 1st!
Fantasies in Chocolate, a Reno tradition celebrating chocolate and good times, will be my unofficial debut to the world! Woo-hoo! In Reno on Saturday, November 7th and want to come out and try my newest flavor: Banana Foster Caramel in dark chocolate? Buy a ticket today at the Fantasies in Chocolate website.
That seems to be the phrase I hear the most lately! I applied for the business license and permitting with the City of Reno over a month ago.
And yet here we are...
The lucky thing for me is that all this sitting around waiting to be approved had allowed me to tighten up some operational questions I had, order new equipment (guess who just received a big and heavy package from Europe??) and experiment with new recipes. So online sales now should be nearly perfect and hopefully flawless for you as customers. And remember, should you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me via social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org