Chocolate Truffles – The God of Small Things
They say big things come in small packages; you can say the same for chocolate truffles. A truffle after all is a fungus and a chocolate truffle, obviously chocolate coated fungus. But when was the last time a fungus made you so happy?
Chocolate truffle, come to think of it, speaks a language of its own. It transcends all boundaries based on gender, event, what have you. You can present them to your High School sweetheart as well as to your spouse of 60 years. Similarly, your professor will accept them happily, after the final grade is in, or maybe before as well if you’re hoping for some brownie points. Chocolate truffles, in short, make a great gift for all occasions – well almost all.
Without giving the French undue credit for creating chocolate truffles (since the word synonymous with “truffle” is “Belgian”), this must be said that it is perhaps one of the best things to come out of 19th century France. Today, there are many different types of chocolate truffles, which can be broadly divided into three categories: American, Swiss and European. And before you ask, why aren’t the Belgians in there. They fall in the European category.
Brilliant Combinations – Truffles with Friends
Truffles don’t need assortments to accentuate their taste, but you can always be creative with them. Some like their chocolate truffles with alcohol; whiskey if you prefer, others may like them with ginger, violet and rose. These are called “spicy” truffles. These truffles are infused with herbs and spices to give that extra kick. Believe it or not, chilies are also used in chocolate truffles.
Going back to those “alcoholic truffles” – these truffles are alcohol – especially whiskey – rum or brandy flavored. They would make a great Christmas holiday gift for anyone, except for kids of course, who would have to do with normal chocolate truffles for the time being.
Stating the obvious here – there is no such thing as “chocolate truffles”. Truffles dusted in cocoa powder are called chocolate truffles. Therefore, there is no right way of making these combinations. You can roll them in anything you want, well almost anything that would complement their flavor and further enhance their taste such as cherry, pistachio, fruit and nuts, coconut, almonds, figs, hazelnut, mint, orange – in short pretty much everything tastes great with truffles.
Don’t Bet on Chocolate Truffles all the time!
Chocolate truffles can make for great gifts, no question about that. But there are some occasions where even chocolate truffles won’t save the day. Think about it, you wouldn’t give chocolate truffles to your best friend on his wedding now would you? Your brother/sister just moved into a new place. Would chocolate truffles cut it as a housewarming gift?
The point is that while chocolate in general and chocolate truffles in specific, make a perfect gift for any occasion, they may not appropriately convey the right message. That best friend of yours is expecting something more expensive and useful than a box of chocolate truffles, something that would contribute towards a honeymoon perhaps. And your brother/sister needs your help move, not show up with a box of truffles after all the heavy lifting has been done. Yes, if one messes on both of these occasions then chocolate truffles would be an appropriate way to say sorry.
He who seeks will find – provided they are looking in the right place
Now what is a truffle? Ask Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, and he would tell you that it is “the diamond of the kitchen”. Luckily this “diamond” can be found without using child labor in the mines of Africa. Truffles are found near the roots of trees. Specially trained dogs and pigs can help you find truffles. These pigs are called truffle hogs. So should you take a dog or a hog for “truffle hunting”? The thing with dogs is that they are relatively easier to control; truffle hogs – well they tend to eat truffles once they sniff them out. The Italians got so agitated that they banned truffle hunting with pigs altogether. However an important point to note here is, hogs have the innate ability to sniff out truffles while dogs need to be trained.
No matter what the facts are, there is one fact no one can deny. Chocolate truffles taste great and we can’t be thankful enough to a certain French gentleman M. Dufour. It is people like M. Dufour who’s creativity and instinct is still being enjoyed more than a century later. It’s amazing how someone’s creation has left such a deep impact on so many. Just like the taste of chocolate truffles on our taste buds. Sweet, tender and everlasting.