When New York was still buried under snow, two chocolatiers sent me some new truffles to try. They were phenomenal, but I got sidetracked with independent projects, writing about strange chocolates and wildlife spotting for Travelandleiusure.com (a third piece is on the way) and editing materials for The Guggenheim Museum (the exhibition, stillspotting nyc, runs in Brooklyn till this weekend).
Even though these chocolates aren’t so new anymore and require extra care in the summer, they’re still worth seeking.
For all that I’ve raved about Amano, you’d think I’m running a kickback scheme, but I assure you, my words are genuine. For these truffles, Art Pollard partnered with executive chef Rebecca Millican to create flavors that complemented his chocolate. Most are subtle, and even if you’re a fan of intense flavorings, you can’t argue that the truffles are technically flawless. The paper-thin shells snap cleanly, giving way to a smooth filling. Although they’re dainty, Amano’s chocolate is so complex that golf ball–sized truffles would be overkill. My favorites were the honey, key lime, and cinnamon pecan, but here’s descriptions of their other flavors as well. From $12 for for 6, plus shipping; amanochocolate.com.
Key Lime-Refreshing, tart filling is paired with Guayas chocolate.
Cinnamon Pecan-Sophisticated yet retro take on pecan pie and snickerdoodles in chocolate form. Crunchy and not too sweet.
Yemeni Sidr Honey-The most expensive honey in the world lends woodsy, smoky notes to Guayas chocolate.
Cardamom and Black Pepper-Single-estate pepper (one of the few that are fully matured prior to harvest) enhances natural hints of bergamot and lavender in Dos Rios chocolate.
White Chocolate Yuzu-Amano’s elusive white chocolate (they sell it to chefs, but otherwise it’s only available in their truffles, though things may change once they expand their equipment) covers a Japanese-citrus ganache
Palet d’Ors (literally “disk of gold”)-A true test of the chocolate (and chocolatier), these four varieties are made with Ocumare, Guayas, Dos Rios, or Madagascar chocolate. Since are no additional flavors are added, the chocolate itself shines though.
Inspired by her trip to Paris, Ambrosius updated classic French pralines (candied, ground nuts) with a jolt of spices, salt, and housemade nut butter. $17 for 10, plus shipping; gailambrosius.com.
Pistachio Bomb-An explosion of flavors and textures. A crunchy pistachio is tucked inside an almost-liquid center of buttery white-chocolate ganache with lime zest, chile verde salt, and cayenne pepper.
Pecan-Applewood smoked salt and roasted nuts conjure bacon sans the weird porkiness. I enjoyed the Kit Kat–like texture, but unfortunately I have a low salt tolerance and was overwhelmed. This is geared toward fans of salted sweets.
Hazelnut-Like a love child of Nutella and Pioroline cookies, but a technical glitch (at least in my eyes) stopped it from reaching greatness. The bottom layer of chocolate was much thicker than the other sides; it disrupted the texture and overshadowed the filling.
Orange Almond-Crushed, candied almonds with marzipan and orange peel evoke Christmas fruitcake (in a good way). I just couldn’t get over the nubby texture.
I thought the pistachio was easily the best of the bunch and recommend customizing a box with that flavor ONLY (just add a note to the comments section of your order). It’s um, the bomb.