Courtesy of Gail Ambrosius
If you’re a New York snob like me, you might glaze over the other 49 states when it comes to chocolate. With stores like La Maison du Chocolat and Jacques Torres, I assume that I can buy everything I need here.
Imagine then, my surprise (and excitement) when a chocolatier from Wisconsin sent me a box of truffles to review. Gail Ambrosius‘ chocolates are exquisitely crafted, from the cacao sourcing to the finished product. She’s personally visited cacao farms in Ecuador, Colombia, and Costa Rica. As a result, she helps farmers refine their harvest and ensures that they earn a livable wage (most don’t). Like all good chocolatiers, she chooses a specific chocolate (such as El Rey, Vintage Plantations, Finmac, or Santander) to pair with her flavors.
The ganache centers are intensely creamy (I wouldn’t be surprised if there was butter in them) and hand-dipped in a thick layer of 70% Colombian chocolate.
Caramel sprinkled with grey salt, courtesy of Gail Ambrosius
The chocolates come in several collections: classic, adventurous, and tea-inspired. Lucille’s vanilla tastes like your mother’s chocolate pudding, while the caramels are soft and chewy, with a jolt from grey salt. The other flavors are exotic without being overpowering (I’ve had my share of bad bacon chocolate and such). Lemongrass with ginger has a dreamy coconut aroma, while shiitake mushroom is deep and earthy (actually, it’s probably the only flavor that was weird for me).
I was greedy and ate all the chocolates before I had a chance to photograph them, so sadly I’m resorting to their PR photos. As of now, the chocolates are only available in select stores in the Midwest, plus online. Let’s hope they expand their distribution. The shipping ups the price, but they’d make a great gift for chocolate lovers who think they’ve tried everything.
Truffles start at $4.25 for a two-piece box, gailambrosius.com.