Recchiuti Sesame Nougatine

Here’s another A Southern Season‘s splurge, a full-sized Recchiuti Sesame Nougatine bar to go with their Asphalt Jungle Mix. It was described as “dark milk chocolate with sesame nougatine and fleur de sel.”

This bar came in a plastic inner wrapper inside a classily designed cardboard sleeve. That plastic inner wrapper was infuriating – there was nowhere to grip or tear to open it, and I wrestled with it for several minutes before I gave up to fetch a pair of scissors.

The bar itself was gorgeous, with the gold nougatine playing out in pretty swirls against the deep brown of the chocolate. Some of the squares were etched with a cursive Recchiuti or R.

The randomly cut assortment of different sized squares and rectangles was pretty and made the bar look like abstract art. They were also impractical, as you couldn’t break the bar neatly because of the intersecting lines.

The milk chocolate was quite creamy with a nice malty edge to it. It melted thickly and sweetly, finishing with a hint of salt.

The sesame nougatine part turned out to be disappointing. I was expecting a crunchy, toffee-like treat.

Instead, this bar’s nougatine had no crunch, either by design or lack of design that let the nougatine take on too much moisture. The sesame added a bit of grit and a light, mild nuttiness.

The flavors were nice – the milk chocolate was great, and I enjoyed the taste of the nougatine – but the textures could have been improved. I wanted caramelized crunchiness, not a soft, chewy seediness.

I bet this bar would be great if it were fresh and crunchy. As is, just an O.

Recchiuti Asphalt Jungle Mix

A little over a week ago, I discovered the new eater of my minimal grad student disposable income: A Southern Season. It’s a megalopolis of gourmet goods: fine meats and cheeses and chocolates and pastas and pastries and spices and candy…

I wanted to eat all the things! But all the things were too expensive, so I splurged on a few high end pieces from Recchiuti and Vosges. Today, I’m starting with the high-ending-est of them all: Recchiuti’s Asphalt Jungle Mix, which was a super splurgey $19.99 for a 6 oz box.

Why the crazy profligate spending? I remembered Cybele writing positively about it and David Lebovitz raving about it. Though now that I revisit David Lebovitz’s post, I see that he’s lucky enough to be buddies with Mr. Recchiuti and didn’t have to pay for his mix…

The minimalist box calls them “a riot of burnt caramel hazelnuts & almonds, cherries two ways, and peanut butter pearls.” Let’s break them down, shall we?

Burnt caramel hazelnuts and almonds were chocolate covered and cocoa dusted. Those hazelnuts were awesomely roasty and crunchy and hazelnutty – they tasted incredibly fresh – with a tinge of burnt sugar sweetness to the finish and a overall cocoa sweetness.

Similarly, the almonds were intensely nutty and sharply crunchy. If there was burnt caramel to these, I didn’t notice it, but I still loved the intensity of toasty nuts.

Cherries one way was a cocoa dusted, chocolate-covered candied cherry. It was juicy and slightly moist and chewy, bright and flavorful with a slightly boozy finish. This was my favorite of the bunch, as it positively burst with flavor.

Cherries the other way was a dried cherry covered in dark chocolate. That cherry center brought an amazing flash of fruity sweetness that was slightly tart. It was good, but the other way was better for me.

Finally, peanut butter pearls were really fun. They were little balls of milk chocolate peanut butter with a dark chocolate center that then contained a little ball of crisped rice. A Matroyshka treat!

It started out with a creamy milk chocolate and the texture of the rice crisp, then transitioned to an extreme peanut butter nuttiness that finished with a flash of salt. Peanut butter lovers would love this.

This mix was tasty and delicious. But at $53/lb, I can’t see myself ever buying these again; they’re just too expensive. Though I did love those chocolate candied cherries… An OMG for the candied cherries and an OM for the rest.


Michael Recchuiti is an American chocolatier who creates elegantly sleek and beautiful truffles. I stopped by his shop (also elegant and sleek, with a predominantly brown and gold scheme and employees dressed all in black) in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. His confections and boxed chocolates are extremely pricey, so I only bought two truffles from his extensive range. It was so hard to choose just two!

I definitely could have used help making my truffle selections, and I now regret not asking for it. The store was packed when I got there, and I got a snobby vibe because one of the employees ignored me when I was standing right in front of her and instead addressed the two well-attired gentlemen behind me. That kind of snubbing isn’t exactly inviting. I also would have bought more than just two truffles had I known that the chocolates are sold by weight when you pick them out individually, which makes them cheaper than when they come in prepackaged boxes. But because no one offered to help me, that was never explained to me.

I ended up choosing a honeycomb malt (left) and a star anise & pink peppercorn (right). I love malted milk balls and will eat Ovaltine malt straight, so I was excited about the honeycomb malt. It turned out to be a sweet, honeyed truffle filling with a soft chocolate coating. The filling looked a bit grainy but was actually quite silky. However, it was not as thick and creamy as richer ganaches are. The honeyed flavor of the filling was nice and smooth, but there was no malt taste that I could perceive, which disappointed me. If I didn’t know the name of the truffle, I’d give it an OM. Because it’s called a honeycomb malt and there was no malt, it only gets an O.

The star anise and pink peppercorn carried a slight hint of anise that sat nicely in the back of my throat. I don’t like licorice, so I found the light anise touch to be just right. There was a hint of pepper without any burn. No suggestions of pink (or if there were, I wouldn’t be able to tell, as I don’t know how pink peppercorns taste different from black ones). The ganache, like that of the honeycomb malt, also had a more liquid viscosity than most truffles. This one gets an OM.

I’m choosing to give Recchuiti the benefit of the doubt here because I wanted to like the shop and the chocolates more than I actually did. I felt pretty “meh” about the two truffles I bought, but those are only two truffles out of his extensive line. And even though I didn’t rave about the truffles I got to taste, I do recognize that they are well-crafted and of a high quality. I’m not going to make a special pilgrimage to California just to visit his shop again, but if I came across Recchiuti truffles elsewhere, I’d give them another shot.