Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chocolate and Sprits tasting at Ethereal Confections

I recently had the pleasure of going to my first official chocolate and liquor tasting. A group of twenty  curious chocolate lovers converged in the cooking area of Ethereal Confections, a chocolate shop in downtown Woodstock, IL. There were five chocolate truffles, each paired with a liquor from CH Distillery, which is based in Chicago. 
 The traditional truffles all had a chocolate coating that snapped when you bit into it. The thick outer casing gave the perfect amount of support for the smooth, velvety ganache underneath. I was surprised at the variety in texture amongst the truffles. The lavender honey truffle had a firmer ganache that melted at first touch, whereas the strawberry truffle's ganache was less compact, and more delicate. The outer coating of the strawberry basil truffle was made from dried powered strawberries- what a novel idea!
 There was a digestive liquor called amaro, which translates to "bitter" in Italian. It was paired with a dark yet sweet chocolate bar- an interesting play of chopped candied nuts, sea salt, and dark chocolate. The interplay of the sweet and salty cut through the amaro, making its intensity and bitterness slightly more palatable.
 The limoncello was mind-blowing- it had milk in it! I had never had limoncello with milk, and it made the limoncello more velvety and creamy, and elevated the drink to an even higher dessert status. It was like drinking cheesecake. It was truly a dessert in its own right, too sweet in my mind to be paired with the blueberry/violet/lemon truffle. I would have kept the truffle very simple to let the bright clean flavors of the limoncello shine through. However, the truffle was delicious, and the candied violet garnish was quite beautiful.
  Overall it was a fun evening of talking about spirits and chocolate- which is something I'd be happy to do more of any day! The pairings themselves were very interesting and well executed:
1. Key [lime] Gin with a lavender/honey truffle
2. Bourbon with a single origin Madagascar 88% chocolate bar 
3. Peppercorn Vodka with a Strawberry basil truffle
4. Amaro with a Sea Salt, candied almond chocolate bark 
5. Creamy limoncello with a blueberry, violet, lemon truffle. 

Check out Ethereal Confections, which is also a gluten free dedicated facility!
Ethereal Confections

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