A few chocolates from Cocoa Bella’s assortment boxes

I’ve been sitting on these reviews for ages. The chocolate truffles were leftovers from the first Calhoun College chocolate tasting I hosted. That’s right – leftovers. We had that much chocolate overload. From Cocoa Bella’s Exotic Assortment comes a Van Coillie Kastanjes, a Christopher Elbow Rosemary Caramel, and a Lillie Belle Farms Cayenne Caramel. Another Lillie Belle Farms chocolate, a Jamaican Spice Caramel, came from the World Select Assortment (photo below).

Accoring to the guide, Van Coillie Kastanjes (top left) is from a Belgian chocolatier that consists of “Whole Walnut & Coffee Caramel.” The thin chocolate shell was made of sweet, well-tempered chocolate with fruity notes and a lovely, creamy finish. The center contained a whole walnut swimming in sweet caramel that had no butter or burnt sugar notes. As for the coffee part, I didn’t notice it. And I didn’t miss it. The truffle was lovely.

The Lillie Belle Farms Jamaican Spice Caramel (top right) was a pretty molded dark truffle filled with a smooth, creamy caramel that was slick rather than sticky. The guide didn’t give much hint as to what it was beyond “Jamaican Jerk Spiced Caramel.” I’ve never had proper Jerk Spiced anything (this fairly recent NY Times Dining article lists some places I’d love to try to track down, if I ever get a chance to), so I didn’t know what to expect. What I got from the truffle was a flavor reminiscent of chai tea and cloves with just a hint of heat.

The other offering from Lillie Belle Farms was a Cayenne Caramel (bottom circle) was billed as “Spicy Hot Caramel,” and boy was it! The caramel within the prettily decorated shell was smooth, creamy, and buttery before it turned WHOA spicy. The spiciness was throat burning and lasted for at least 30 seconds. It was one of the more adventurous truffles.

And last, but not least, a Christopher Elbow Rosemary Caramel, “Fresh Rosemary Steeped in Caramel.” And it was just that – rosemary-flavored caramel inside a chocolate truffle shell, a unique flavor combination that really worked. By the way, my photo of the truffle doesn’t do it justice. It was a beautiful, luminescent green.

Cocoa Bella does a great job of bringing together well-made and interesting chocolates from all over the world. A ZOMG! for the boxes. I only tasted a fraction of them, and not every one was ZOMG!-worthy alone, but taken as a whole, they’re an indulgent chocolate adventure. Like many fine things in life, they don’t come cheap, especially with shipping. I wish I had had the chance to drop by their brick and mortar shop while I was in San Francisco. But I can look for the truffles at other specialty chocolate shops (I still have the guides), and I can ask to host more chocolate tasting parties next year…