The most popular question asked at the Truffle Shop from our new customers is how are these made? Of course, I insist that the customer sit down with a truffles and a cup of coffee because it’s not so short an explanation. The truffles are made all by hand. The length of time to produce a batch (all 23 flavors) is a three day process.
First chef Willem DeGroot produces the ganash: the creamy filling which is the heart of the truffle experience. One thing I need to remind people is that these truffles have been produced for 14 years and that Bill is always working on improving the flavor and texture of the truffles. When we first started manufacturing the truffles we had experimented with many different brands of chocolate. Willem was after a particular taste with a balance of sweetness (not too sweet) and a balance of the cocoa butterfat content which would best express what he was after. We final settled with a Belgian chocolate (Callabeau) Sometimes a new ingredient is introduced that will enhance that right blend and balance that one’s palate interprets as that chocolate exquisite experience.
The scene at the “factory” (our nickname for the DeGroot Kitchen) looks like a mad scientists’ laboratory. Different vats of slightly melted chocolate combined with many vials of different liqueurs and ingredients for flavoring the various blends is reminiscent of the storyof the Alchemists searching for the age old answer to that age old question: How can I achieve perfection?
In the culinary experience, the equivalent is how can I bring this taste to it’s full expression of perfection. Excuse me. I didn’t mean to go off on an esoteric tangent .The alcoholic truffles are flavored with actual liqueurs. The average customer assumes that the alcohol is cooked out of the chocolate and that you can barely taste the alcohol. On the contrary, the ingredients are mixed at that low temperature in which the chocolate ,butter and those special ingredients seize up interlocking the blend of flavors so that nothing is lost.
The final coat of chocolate used to decorate the truffle is a thin veneer which has a special function of Hermetically sealing the truffle so that he flavors stay locked within. The mixing of the ganash requires one session.
The next day a small crew comes in and we hand roll the truffles into two sizes of chocolate balls. After this the truffles are allowed to rest before they are dipped in a final coating of white or semisweet chocolate. Also at this time the truffles are hand decorated and packaged to go to the shop to greet the public.