What I love almost more than chocolate, are the stories of the people behind the chocolate companies and their creations. Case in point: Seattle’s Dilettante Chocolates which was founded in 1976. However, when you experience their chocolates, you embrace a culinary heritage and tradition that began over 120 years ago.
My relationship with Dilettante started in the early ‘80s when I began offering chocolate tastings in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have always been special to me because Dilettante was the first company outside of Northern California to send me samples. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the company founder, Dana Taylor Davenport, at the Seattle Chocolate Salon in 2008. So several months ago when I was asked by Chocolate.com, a great one-stop chocolate website, to sample and review some products from Dilettante, needless to say, I was thrilled.
I was sent two packages of their Truffle Cremes: Emphemere and Coffee Trio. Each 10 ounce gift box houses about 28 individually foil-wrapped confections. Truffle Crèmes, created by Dana, are rectangular pieces of ganache enveloped in special blends of cacao. All the cacao used in these products are sourced from the Ivory Coast and Ecuador.
Ephemere No. 52 is named after the French word for ephemeral, which means short lasting. As Dilettante explains on it’s packaging, ephemere (eff*e*meer) describes a brief, ethereal experience of intense pleasure. What gives Ephemere its special flavor notes are lightly browned butter, caramelized cream, with a hint of vanilla.
When you unwrap the elegant black and silver foil of this truffle creme, the intense chocolate aroma is evident. When you bite into it, you discover a very dense, smooth and creamy interior. The flavor is rich and chocolatey with caramel tones. It is covered with dark chocolate couverture (53% cacao) from the Ivory Coast and Ecuador and the entire piece contains 55% cacao mass. These cremes would satisfy the cravings of anyone who loves chocolate- on the darker side.
One friend felt there was a disagreeable aftertaste. That wasn’t the case for my husband or myself, however, I did detect a slight astringency afterward. This reminds me that everyone’s collection of taste buds is so unique. For more information on the art of chocolate tasting, please go here.
Espresso No. 51: Nice coffee aroma and flavor. I was surprised to find a grainy, almost gritty mouth feel. As I discovered from the package description, this is the result of coffee being blended into the dark chocolate ganache. I loved the contrast in texture. There is double dark chocolate goodness here: in and out.
Mocha No. 38: This one also had a slightly grainy mouth feel due to the bits of coffee inside, but not so much as the Espresso. Much more sweeter since it is entirely made with milk chocolate. Very rich, smooth and creamy. It was also softer in consistency.
Creamy Latte No. 03: This double milk confection had a more subtle coffee flavor, as you would expect from its name. It was amazingly creamy and rather sweet.
Loved the look of the cream, copper and dark brown foil wrapping in the Trio box and having all three color-coded varieties in one box. I’m not the biggest coffee drinker in the world, however, these morsels made me want to grab a cappuccino which would compliment them beautifully. This assortment is definitely the choice for the coffee lovers in your life.
Overall, I liked the smoothness and thin chocolate coating over the pieces of delicious ganache in these Truffle Cremes – it is apparent how they got their name. The rectangular shape of these rich morsels was just the right size. Being individually wrapped, they are easy to transport. In fact, I brought some with me on a recent plane trip and even though these pieces became slightly bloomed, this didn’t affect the taste or distract from the overall tasting experience. (So be sure to store your chocolate properly- this topic will have to wait for another post!). Would also love to see more Truffle Creme variety packs since it was nice to have an assortment to choose from in the Coffee Trio and this might encourage one to try more of their different flavors.
Dilettante is an important part of the Seattle chocolate scene. If you are ever at the Seattle Chocolate Salon that is held each May, make a point to visit one of the 5 Dilettante’s Mocha Cafes or their Mocha Martini Bar in the area. You can get more information on their cafes and the fascinating history of this company here. Each piece of their chocolate, manufactured in Kent, Washington, is a delicious morsel of fine confection and history rolled into one.
I’m grateful to Chocolate.com for the opportunity to review these products and for the fact that, after three generations, the dominant gene for the “chocolate obsession trait” is fully expressed in Dana! I hope you, too, will enjoy these delectable cremes from the Emerald City!