Sunday, May 2, 2010
I love pulling into my driveway to find a package at the door. Today there was a big brown box awaiting me. Inside, deep inside, was a mylar insulated package which revealed yet another package. Chocolate! This unexpected gift came from Quintessential Chocolates out of Fredericksburg Texas. Lecia Duke,a former architect and graphic designer founded Quintessential Chocolates in Nashville, Tennessee in 1984 after apprenticing under a Swiss master-chocolatier to learn the almost-lost confectionery art form known as liqueur praline (sugar crust). Duke has made liquid-center chocolates with over 150 storied beverages including Frangelico, Amaretto, Crown Royal, Crème de Menthe, Hennessy Cognac, various Kentucky Bourbons, Tequila, and Tennessee Whiskey plus wines of the world including Champagne, Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Port. I read a bit about the process of forming a capsule of cornstarch to house the liquid and the process of enrobing it in chocolate. Fascinating.
The California cabernet was mellow but not overly flavored with the wine (which I would have preferred). The chocolate has just the right amount of richness to blend with the filling but not be too overbearing. I learned a valuable lesson with this first one; take one bite unless you want liquid running down your chin.
The Tennessee whiskey packed a punch. It was an explosion of newly distilled whiskey that ended with the crunch of crystallized sugars. She has really put her knowledge of architecture to use. The liquid centers of the chocolates are unmolested by sugars or additives and enter your mouth in their purest form. I have tasted many liquor filled chocolates but never like this. I may need to call up Ethel M and compare for comparison.
My favorite so far is the Tawny Port. Its smoothness compliments the rich, dark chocolate perfectly.