Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Truffle Selections for the Average Chocolate Lover (and recommendations for the connoisseur)

Christmas is coming and the stores are bursting with chocolate truffles everywhere you look.  Godiva and Lindt are competing head-to-head for the packaged 'gourmet' truffle market, making it hard to choose which truffle selection is best to purchase for the average chocolate lover.

So who is the average chocolate lover?  Someone who loves to eat sweeter chocolate (milk, white or a semi-sweet chocolate) and who does not always care if artificial flavours are included.  They also don't care to differentiate between real-cream truffles and oil-based 'meltaways', which have a long shelf life and often called 'truffles' on the package (i.e. a Lindor Truffle is an example because it is made with coconut oil instead of fresh cream).  The average chocolate lover usually enjoys receiving a Ferrero Rocher or a box of Lindt's Lindor Truffles on special occasions.

So this year, if you are sick and tired of buying the 'usual' box of Lindor Truffles for your friend, try stepping it up to some newer truffle products.  I've tried them all and have written an overview below.

If you have a non-average chocolate lover to buy for - an absolute chocolate connoisseur -  keep scrolling to the end of this article for some great gift ideas.

Truffle selections for the average chocolate lover:

1. Lindt has launched a new box of gourmet truffles this year, which appear to be a step-up from their original Lindor Truffles, and compete in terms of price and presentation with Godiva's truffle selection.

The truffles are presented beautifully and would make a nice gift for the average chocolate lover.  But if the person you are buying for is picky about artificial flavours, keep in mind that there are artificial flavours in these truffles, which can be tasted in each an every truffle. There is also a sweet coconut oil flavour tasted in all of the truffles. For example, I found the hazelnut tasted more like a coconut-vanilla-flavoured truffle, with nearly no hazelnut flavour. 

This box is also meant for someone who likes sweeter chocolate treats - the vanilla truffle was pretty tasty. The 'Extra Dark' had a centre that looked like milk chocolate and overall, I'd say it did not taste as dark as a 70% chocolate, but it did taste good regardless. So if you are buying for someone who only likes 'bitter' or 'dark' chocolate, you'd better look elsewhere (be sure it is about a 65%- 70% dark chocolate or higher for someone who prefers dark chocolate).

2. If you really want to impress the Lindor Truffle lover in your life, I'd say find Lindt's new Peanut Butter Lindor Truffle.  They come in boxes of three and are absolutely delicious (so delicious, in fact, that I can forgive the artificial flavour).  They have not been easy to find, but that may have something to do with where I live.


3. Step it up while being socially responsible and healthy!
I discovered the most delectable milk chocolate truffle at Wholefoods in downtown Toronto under the Alter Eco brand.  These have no artificial flavours and taste like buttery smooth, real melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate.  I loved them so much that I did not share with anyone! 

They also come individually wrapped, so you can add them to Christmas baskets or toss them into your family's stockings for a tasty treat Christmas morning.

4. Godiva's Truffle Selection always impresses the average chocolate lover, since most people know how expensive Godiva chocolate can be and they will rarely purchase a box for themselves. I find the flavours a bit sweet for me and truthfully, the cocoa bean flavour is a little dull.  But of course, I am not your average chocolate lover!


My recommendation: get Godiva's newest bar, the milk chocolate truffle bar and stuff it in someone's stocking.  It is made with real cream and it is super delicious.  I usually buy it in the cash register area of the Chapters-Indigo in my region.

5. National chocolate retailers (Canada) offer other great Canadian gift ideas to step up from your usual pharmacy chocolate truffle purchase, including Purdys 2014 Christmas Collection (you can still order online with Priority shipping!), Laura Secord's Hostess Gift Box, has a variety of chocolates, including an entire box layer devoted to truffles and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also offers a truffle selection in their retail stores.

What to get for a true chocolate connoisseur?

If you have to buy a gift for that person who researches, talks about and orders fine chocolate regularly - you'd better buy fresh, real-cream truffles and ganaches, like those of MoRoCo or Stubbe Chocolate in Toronto (also at Wholefoods). Or go with a gourmet local chocolate shop, like the new truffles made by Manitoulin Chocolate Works (see pick below) or my Original Chocolate TOFFLEs on Manitoulin Island.  And if you are really stuck, go and see a local expert, like Joanne at JoJo Coco in Ottawa, who can help you find just the right chocolaty gift for any kind of chocolate lover. If all else fails, e-mail me at info@ultimatelychocolate.com and I'll help you figure it out.

For a chocolate connoisseur, you can always achieve gifting success by buying Michel Cluizel or Valrhona brand bars from an online fine chocolate site such as ATasteforChocolate.com or a bean-to-bar brand from La Tablette de Miss Choco in Montreal. But you had better do it quickly!  Christmas morning is just 9 days away!!!


Manitoulin Chocolate Works Salted Caramel Truffle

2 comments:

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