Archive for the 'Hedonist Artisan Chocolates' Category

Hedonist Chocolate-Covered Orange Peels

November 29th, 2010 by Rosa

I got a lovely box of Hedonist’s Chocolate-Covered Orange Peel as a free sample to review. They describe it as “candied orange peel enrobed in bittersweet chocolate.” It felt very apropos for fall.

The candied orange peel is imported from Italy – very fancy! – and enrobed by Hedonist. There are 20 peels to a box. Each of mine were about 3 inches long, and all but the final half inch was covered in a dark, matte chocolate.

The zest had just a hint of sweetness, but it mostly tasted of pure orange essence, like the way orange oil smells. Its texture varied from piece to piece. Some were dry and a bit chewy, while others were more moist with an almost jelly/fruit pate texture. But all of the exposed ends were pretty dry.

The chocolate coating was thin on the top, thicker on the sides, and flat on the bottom. You could tell that they were dipped and set down to dry and harden.

The chocolate was nice and of obviously high quality, bittersweet with a velvety melt, deep cocoa notes, and a hint of earthiness. It paired quite well with the orange.

The peels tasted great, and they’ve got a delicateness to them that really makes them feel special. To me, they’re too fancy to buy for myself, but they’d be great to serve guests with coffee or to bring as a hostess gift. An OM.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, OM, review | 1 Comment »

Hedonist Goat Cheese Truffles

September 17th, 2010 by Rosa

I LOVE goat cheese. Especially warmed and drizzled with honey. Mmmm…

And, as y’all may have guessed, I LOVE chocolate. So I was super excited when I popped into Hedonist Artisan Chocolates one day in June to see that they had a Goat Cheese Truffle Collection, featuring goat cheese from a local goat dairy.

I bought a few and ate them on the spot. Now, a few months later, I got a free sample box of Goat Cheese truffles to properly photograph and review, thanks to the gals at Hedonist.

First up is Fig and Honey. It was easy to ID because it was topped by a seed-studded chunk of golden brown fig.

The truffle had a dark chocolate couverture with a textured ganache full of figgy seeds and pulp. The berry-tinged sweetness of fig flavor was clearly present.

Despite the strong fig flavors, I found that the mellow sweetness of honey dominated this truffle’s flavors. The chocolate flavor comes through in the finish, along with a hint of floralness from the honey.

Strawberry Balsamic was easy to identify by a tiny topper of dried strawberry. It had a dark chocolate shell around a deliciously in-your-face ganache.

This truffle’s filling was supremely bright, fruity, and tart. It was cheerfully fragrant with the concentrated flavor of picked-at-the-peak-of-ripeness strawberries.

I could tell that the balsamic contributed to the truffle’s super concentrated flavors and especially to the bright tartness. But had balsamic not been in the truffle’s name, I would never have guessed that there’s vinegar in there.

It brought just the right touch of tartness while avoiding the addition of any acidity, bitterness, or unpleasant sharpness. It was a really well-formulated treat.

Thyme, Pepper, and Pistachio was the only rolled truffle of the bunch, and the only purely savory one too. It was rolled in crushed bits of pistachio, which provided added nuttiness and crunch.

The truffle initially tasted of nutty pistachio with a lightly spicy peppery undertone. Then a big kick of thyme came through and walloped my taste buds with a savory herbalness.

I liked the initial peppery nuttiness, but the emergence of the thyme was strange for me. It was too strongly herbal for my taste.

Ancho Chile and Cinnamon was the most nondescript looking one, though it was still gorgeous, with a beautifully tempered smooth and glossy top.

There was a slight grit to the texture of the ganache, I think from the bits of cinnamon. That texturally noticeable cinnamon also brought a touch of astringency to the finish, but it was slight enough that it wasn’t off-putting.

The truffle initially tasted of beautifully fragrant and fresh cinnamon with a lightly fruity undertone. There was just a touch of heat that was barely noticeable at the finish.

While the chocolate, cinnamon, and chile were harmoniously balanced, I actually wished that the heat in this was less subtle. I love chile in my chocolate!

Finally, Black Currant was distinguished by a little topper of what I presumed was a dried black currant. It tasted brightly fruity – like the Strawberry Balsamic – but with a raisin finish.

This was the only one of the set in which I could detect the presence of goat cheese. Its influence was light and brought a noticeable tang with an almost pungent savoriness.

The Black Currant was my favorite because of how it managed to blend fruity and tangy and savory. It and the Strawberry Balsamic get ZOMG!s, Fig and Honey and Ancho Chile and Cinnamon get OMGs, and the Thyme, Pepper, and Pistachio gets an O.

I think my favorite part of the collection (aside from the Black Currant truffle) was that they didn’t just let the goat cheese do all the work. It would’ve been easy to just mix goat cheese and chocolate and say, “Look how novel this combination is!”

Instead, they put together a thoughtful and tasty collection that’s much more than just a novel ingredient. Hooray for Hedonist’s effort and care!

Category: Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, O, OMG, review, ZOMG! | 2 Comments »

Hedonist Spring Teas Collection

March 19th, 2010 by Rosa

Having fairly recently reviewed and enjoyed Charles Chocolates’s tea truffles, I was excited when I got the chance to try Hedonists’s take on the genre when they gave me a free box of their Spring Teas Truffle Collection.

Jasmine was beautifully painted with green swirls and green speckles. It tasted mostly of deep, dark chocolate with an aftertaste of dim sum tea that was lightly astringent, but not unpleasantly so. The jasmine flavor was more mild than Charles Chocolates’s interpretation, but it was still a great pairing.

Earl Grey was topped with a sprinkle of crisp, dry tea leaves. It had a dark and fruity undertone of “tea-ness.” Earl Grey is supposed to have citrus extract, but I thought it tasted more purple – if that makes any sense. Another lovely flavor pairing.

Lapsang Souchong was topped with a dry roasted almond. It tasted super whoa smoky, like liquid smoke smells. I wouldn’t seek it out over others in the collection, but I did enjoy tasting it.

I usually find chai chocolates to be overly flavored and/or sweetened, but Hedonist’s chai truffle was spot on. It had nice spice notes of mostly nutmeg. The chocolate flavor is the main player here, with a mild sweetness that’s nicely tempered by the nutmeg.

The green tea truffle had pretty green stripes with a cheery green ganache center to match. The green tea was a subtle flavor addition to a delightfully creamy filling.

I thought it had a mild grassy finish, but that could have been the green filling exerting undue influence on my taste bud interpretations. I found it deliciously intriguing, and it was my favorite of the bunch.

I love how thoughtful Hedonist’s truffles are. Instead of letting the flavor additions take over, they keep the chocolate in the starring role. The chai truffle in this collection was a great example of that. An OM as a whole, with a bonus G for the green tea truffle.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, OM, review | No Comments »

Hedonist Pecan Cranberry Bark

March 17th, 2010 by Rosa

I’ve got some more Hedonist goodies to review, courtesy of free samples from Zahra and Jennie. Today we’ve got their Pecan Cranberry Bark, and I’ll cover their Spring Tea Truffle Collection on Friday.

The Pecan Cranberry Bark is described on their website as, “shards of semi-sweet chocolate (55%) swirled with white chocolate and sprinkled with dried cranberries and candied pecans.” The bark was quite pretty, with its white chocolate swirls studded with red jewels of cranberry. It’s a visual treat.

The semi-sweet chocolate was nice and snappy. It tasted deeply of cocoa with a sweet and mild finish.

The candied pecans were my favorite component of the bark. They were coated in a crispy caramelized sugar glaze, and they added a nice, occasional crunchy sweetness. The pecans, along with the sweet cranberries, paired nicely with the chocolate.

The standalone chocolate was a little sweet for my taste, but it was nicely tempered by the pecans and lightly tart cranberries. I picked out the most highly studded bits, and my boyfriend happily ate the rest. An OM.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, nuts, OM, review | No Comments »

Hedonist Holiday Truffle Collection

December 18th, 2009 by Rosa

Remember when I reviewed Hedonist truffles that were maybe no longer for sale? That’s because they replaced them with new truffles, their Holiday Collection, comprised of Champagne Pomegranate, Egg Nog, Fig, Ginger Molasses, and Orange Clove. I was lucky enough to get a free sample box to try (and managed to pick up a hidden away cardamom truffle while I was there!).

Champagne Pomegranate is a molded dark chocolate shell with a milk ganache. It smells lightly fruity. The truffle contains definite fruity notes of red fruits, but I wouldn’t place it as pomegranate, exactly. I get some light, boozy undertones from the champagne (though that could be my imagination). Finally, the light sprinkle of granulated sugar on top was a nice textural touch.

Egg Nog is a dark chocolate shell around a creamy white chocolate ganache. The flavor profile is nearly all nutmeg, with a light eggy-ness below. It tasted super fresh, but it was too much nutmeg for me.

Fig smells absolutely lovely, of fresh cinnamon. The ganache is chock full of figgy-ness, as in actual bits of figs. The figs impart a light chew and grit that blend so well with the duskiness of the dark chocolate and the strong cinnamon notes. It works really nicely!

Ginger Molasses was a dark chocolate shell with a super creamy molasses ganache, topped with bits of candied ginger. I love that topping and the ganache. The latter tastes like creamy brown sugar with dark notes of molasses and goes well with the dark chocolate couverture.

Orange Clove is yet another dark chocolate shell, this time topped with a bit of candied orange peel. It has strong clove notes with a citrus undertone; the clove comes through first, then a light citrus/orange oil essence comes through. It’s too much clove for me, but clove is in the name, so it’s not unexpected.

The ginger molasses and the fig are my favorites and merit OMGs. Champagne pomegranate gets an OM, and orange clove and egg nog, while well made (like everything Hedonist does), gets an O. All in all, a lovely, seasonally-themed set.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, O, OM, OMG, review | 2 Comments »

More truffles from Hedonist

December 4th, 2009 by Rosa

I’ve previously sung the praises of Hedonist Artisan Chocolates on this blog, and today, I’m adding to the chorus. Unfortunately, because they shake up their line up so much, I’m no longer sure these truffles are even still available. Oops. On the plus side, that also means that they’ve got new flavors out!

These are a custom assortment that I chose (and, unlike the previously reviewed autumn collection, paid for) myself. I love that Hedonist lets you write down your order and then turns that into your chocolate guide. From left to right in the above photo, I’ve got cardamom, peanut butter and honey, imperial stout, ginger pop rock, and sesame.

Cardamom, a rolled truffle, is by far my favorite of the bunch. There’s an intense, almost savory note to the truffle that makes it wonderfully earthy. It’s a great flavor pairing that’s astoundingly delicious.

Peanut butter and honey (above) is a molded milk chocolate truffle with a fun skull stenciled on top. The peanut butter inside is dry, with a slight grain to it (similar to the texture of a Reese’s).  It’s super peanut-y, with a tinge of sweet and a slight saltiness to the finish. The honey and the milk make it a little too sweet for my taste, but it’s otherwise good.

Imperial stout is another rolled truffle (below). It tastes of cocoa with a dark yeastiness, with a finish that’s reminiscent of the scent of Guinness. Ever since I had Guinness for breakfast as a college freshman, I’ve generally avoided dark beers, so this wouldn’t be a truffle I’d pick out again, though I did enjoy tasting it.

Ginger pop rock was a hollow, heart-shaped dark chocolate shell filled with flavorless pop rocks and bits of candied ginger. It adds a fun effect to the fairly familiar (to a candy blogger, at least) combination of chocolate and ginger.

I tasted this one about 2 weeks after I’d bought it, so the pop rocks had softened a bit from moisture. They were still poppy and fun, but I’ve now learned that pop rock truffles should be consumed as soon as possible for maximum crunchiness.

Last, but not least, the sesame truffle was a molded milk square sprinkled with sesame seeds. Unsuprisingly enough, it tastes similar to the bark, just creamier because it’s a ganache, and maybe a tad heavier on the salt and sesame oil. I think I prefer it in bark form because you get a bit more crunch that way, but the truffle incarnation is nice as well.

All in all, I’m happy with the five truffles that I chose. As I write this from my notes, weeks after I first tasted them, I wish I had more of the cardamom, so that gets a ZOMG! Sesame merits an OMG for its surprising and surprisingly delicious flavor combination, while the rest hover around an O/OM. While all are expertly crafted and well-made, they do run the ratings gamut solely based on my personal flavor preferences.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, O, OM, OMG, peanut butter, review, ZOMG! | 1 Comment »

Hedonist Milk Chocolate Sesame Bark

October 30th, 2009 by Rosa

Hedonist gave me this bag of milk chocolate sesame bark as a free sample, along with their current Autumn Truffle Collection that I reviewed on Wednesday. I had seen their bags of bark in their shop before, but I’d always dismissed them as being not nearly as exciting as their truffles. Boy was I wrong!

If I remember/heard her correctly, when Zahra at Hedonist packed this sample for me, she told me it was their best seller. At the time, I found that a bit odd, as milk chocolate sesame bark doesn’t sound like it should be a best seller – it’s an unusual flavor combination that I’d never heard of before, and I’d expect best sellers to be more generic in order to be crowd pleasing.

And then I promptly forgot about that oddness, as I was distracted by trying to pick out a variety box of truffles for myself.

On the surface, this just looks like milk chocolate slabs floating white and black sesame seeds. Once I opened the bag, however, I realized that it was much more.

For starters, it smells strongly of sesame oil. I actually first thought it was soy sauce because soy sauce and sesame oil are often used together in Asian cooking, so I guess my scent memories/references got crossed.

Tastewise, there’s a noticeable saltiness to the bark that’s the first flavor to hit the palate. It’s not always evenly distributed; some bites were saltier than others, though none were unpleasantly so. I actually enjoyed the occasional changes in saltiness, as it perked up the palate.

Immediately after the saltiness comes a rush of sesame oil flavor. It’s super aromatic – that’s the best word I can find to describe it. Finally, you get a roasty, nutty sesame seed bite every time you hit a seed, which is fairly often, as you can see.

The milk chocolate is a bit player in this, as the bark mostly tastes of sesame oil, but it does add a sweet, thick melt, a slight dusky flavor, and a touch of fruitiness to the finish.

All in all, Hedonist’s milk chocolate sesame bark is an amazing, complex, who would’ve-thunk-it-would-work flavor combination. It’s not the most delicious chocolate that I’ve ever had (though it is delicious), but it does have an extra intrigue factor that puzzles the tastebuds and kept me reaching for more. And more. And more. A hearty OMG.

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Hedonist Autumn Truffle Collection

October 28th, 2009 by Rosa

Remember when I complained about having to miss a free Hedonist chocolate tasting? My boyfriend and I ended up swapping our travel duties, and he came to Rochester instead of me going to New Haven, which meant we both got to go to the tasting party. Hooray!

Cody came up with some great stuff – the cardamom was the stellar standout for me – and I made off with a goodie bag full of treats: a Rosa-selected box of 5 truffles (above) that I paid for (including another of Cody’s cardamom truffles), and free samples of their Autumn Truffle Collection, their milk chocolate sesame bark, and their pistachio ginger bark.

I’ll review the milk chocolate sesame bark on Friday; today’s all about the Autumn Truffle Collection. This season’s collection includes fennel, whiskey sage, honey thyme, cinnamon, and rosemary.

I love that Hedonist includes a customizeable guide with every box, to help you identify which is which. So much easier than trying to guess or cross-reference with the chocolatier’s website.

Fennel was easy to spot, as it was garnished with whole fennel seeds. Fennel goes quite well with the high quality, dusky dark chocolate (Valrhona, I think) even in its most potent, whole-seed state.

In the actual truffle, a dark chocolate shell around a white ganache, the fennel flavor is tempered, and it works even better, especially with the slight saltiness that Hedonist added.

Whiskey sage smells a little boozy but in taste, the whiskey mostly manifests as a light sweetness. The most prominent flavor in the truffle is sage.

The herb and chocolate meld together beautifully. It tastes velvety, and it’s a unique flavor combination that melds beautifully.

Honey thyme smells just like the jar of thyme in our spice rack. It tastes just like thyme too, with a dusky, dry cocoa finish. I can’t pick out honey flavors from the overall sweetness of the truffle, as the thyme has such a strong presence.

Again, the flavors go together well, but it makes me think of Italian food and pasta sauce when I eat it, and that’s cognitively jarring. I enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I would seek it out again.

Cinnamon, understandably enough, smells just like fresh ground cinnamon. I think it’s Ceylon rather than your more run-of-the-mill Cassia, as the cinnamon tastes delicate and maybe slightly sweet. Its presence is super strong in the truffle, so much so that it becomes slightly astringent. It definitely seeks a different target palate than Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which I love, too, by the way).

Rosemary was a rolled rather than a molded truffle and came wrapped in cheery orange foil. I didn’t get an unwrapped picture of this one, specifically, but it looked like this (actually Hedonist’s Imperial Stout, another rolled truffle), all charmingly lumpy and dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Again, it smells and tastes of my spice rack. The ganache inside is rich and fattily cool on the tongue. I know “fattily cool” doesn’t exactly sound appetizing, but it’s a good sensation!

Hedonist’s Autumn collection of savory spice + dark chocolate is definitely a winner. Their flavor combinations were novel (well, cinnamon and chocolate is relatively common, but not the way Hedonist made them) and despite their… unintuitiveness… worked together quite well, making this an intriguing and delicious set.

Whiskey sage was my favorite, and even my least favorite (the honey thyme) was tasty – it just messed with my mind a little too much. It makes me want to whip up a pan of chocolate bark and sprinkle the contents of my spice rack over it to see if I can find chocolate magic too. An OMG for the collection as a whole, with whiskey sage meriting that extra Z.

If you want to try them out for yourselves, remember that they’re offering free shipping until the end of the month!

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, limited edition, OMG, review | 1 Comment »

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates

April 1st, 2009 by Rosa

I was in Rochester, NY last week and came across a delightful little chocolate shop called Hedonist Artisan Chocolates. While there I struck up a nice conversation with one their chocolate makers (perhaps the proprietor?) and partook of their generous free samples of just-made rolled champagne truffles and some bits of chocolate bark. The great samples convinced me to buy two of their ever-changing selection of handmade truffles: molasses ginger and peanut butter cayenne.

The molasses ginger (left) was a square of molasses ginger flavored ganache covered in dark Valhrona and topped with a tiny piece of candied ginger. It was fresh and tasted amazing. The ganache was creamy but not greasy and had a distinct fresh ginger flavor without the less pleasant bite that real ginger has. I didn’t get any direct molasses notes, but there’s a mellow sweetness that permeates throughout. The little dab of candied ginger was a wonderful touch that again, brought ginger flavor without any bitter notes. All this was nicely juxtaposed against the snappy shell of good quality dark couverture.

Peanut butter cayenne was topped with a little half peanut. The filling in this was stiffer and slightly gritty. It initially starts with a roasty fresh nuttiness before giving way to a lingering cayenne burn. The heat is more intense than other chili chocolates, so it may not be for the faint of heart, but I loved it.

Both truffles were great, if not exactly cheap at $2 a bite. Still, they get a ZOMG! for their high quality and wonderful flavors. There were other interesting sounding flavors that I didn’t try (like raspberry wasabi and lapsang souchong), so I’m sure that I’ll revisit Hedonist Chocolates again and again once I move to Rochester.

That’s right – I’m moving to Rochester! I get my BA in psychology/neuroscience at the end of May, and sometime during the summer, I’m starting a two-year stint as a research assistant/lab manager at the University of Rochester. The decision to move there wasn’t an easy one to make, especially since my other option was a fully funded, generously stipended year in a Master’s program at Cambridge University (back in England, with British accents and Cadbury and Haribo…), but Rochester made me a great offer full of great opportunity. Besides, it’s close to Canada, so I’ll still get to explore an international candy scene while there!

Category: chocolate, Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, peanut butter, review, ZOMG! | 5 Comments »