I had the fortune of receiving a box of truffles for my b-day from Jessica Foster Confections out of Santa Barbara.
Jessica Foster launched her brand in 2003 after years of working in restaurant in Santa Barbara and along the central coast, as a prep cook, then pastry chef and finally specializing in chocolate. Using Belgian chocolate for her creations she finds her inspiration for the many flavors in as diverse places as the local Farmers' Market, to her travels abroad.
I received a box of the Hot Chili Truffle Selection. Four different chili flavored truffles were included.
Dark Chocolate Cayenne was the first one to disappear without a trace... This truffle was coated with cocoa power and made from luscious, smooth, dark chocolate with no initial taste of the cayenne. But right as you let it all melt in your mouth a medium strong heat sets in that lingers in your mouth long after you swallow. You know that great kind of heat that sneaks up on you.
The Dark Chocolate Habanero was up next. Again the dark ,velvety, chocolate, this time rolled in granulated sugar. Just like the Cayenne truffle it had not initial heat but you are barely done swallowing when a stronger heat sets in that stays with you in your mouth and upper throat for a long time. This one had a really nice kick to it. Just in case you are not aware: the habanero is one of the strongest chilies in the world, along with the Scotch Bonnet, so you wouldn't expect anything less from this truffle.
Dark Chocolate Chipotle was next in line, coated with cocoa powder, and this one displayed the traditional smoked chili beautifully. You can smell the smoke, earth, and chili right upfront and taste all the same components. This truffle has the most pronounced flavor of them all, but just enough to give the chocolate a nice flavor, but not over powering it. Again you have an increasing heat after you finish your bite.
Last but not least the most interesting of them, the Dark Chocolate Ancho and Cumin. This truffle was again coated with cocoa power and had a nice initial taste of chili and also a subtle taste of cumin that made this piece really intriguing and different from the others in that aspect. The chili and cumin is a traditional pairing in Mexican food (among others) and worked really well together in chocolate as well. Another difference was that this truffle had no lingering heat to talk about compared to the others. For good and bad...
Over all impression of this chocolatier is very good. The truffles are very smooth and velvety in texture with a really good quality dark chocolate flavor. The spices (or herb, fruits, berries etc. in other cases) are very much present but in no way overwhelming. Jessica Foster manages to find the perfect marriage between flavoring components and chocolate in every piece.
I can't wait to try some more of her creations and I suggest you do to...
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