Monthly Archives: September 2013

Chocolate Truffles and Other Chocolates


A box of truffles and other chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat

A box of truffles and other chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat

A chocolate truffle conjures up images of luxury, but what makes a chocolate a chocolate truffle?

A chocolate truffle is a confection that includes melted chocolate, cream or butter, and flavorings that can include liqueur, fruit, nuts, or spices.  After the chocolate mixture is chilled, it’s then rolled into balls, and can be coated with cocoa powder or more melted chocolate.  Since it resembles the savory (edible fungus) truffle, this confection is also called a “truffle.”  So it’s the round shape and the addition of cream or butter that makes a chocolate a truffle.  And of course, it’s the cream or butter that makes truffles so decadent (and somewhat perishable).

A box of truffles and other chocolates from Kee's Chocolates

A box of truffles and other chocolates from Kee’s Chocolates

I asked Kee Ling Tong, of Kee’s Chocolates, a high-end Manhattan chocolatier, which of her chocolates are the best sellers.  Kee said that her Crème Brulee Bonbon is her signature piece and has been the most popular item since she opened up shop in 2002.  But Kee noted her customers are also interested in Salty Caramel Bonbons as well as her Black Rose Truffles (dark chocolate with black tea infused with rose petals).

She said that since it’s so difficult to predict chocolate trends, she tries to offer a variety of chocolates — to satisfy the chocolate purists as well as the adventurous customers.  (See the Dessert Surveillance posting on Sophisticated and Exotic Chocolate.)  So far my favorite item from Kee’s Chocolates is the amazing Cognac Truffle.

Black Raspberry Chocolate from Zoe's Chocolate

Black Raspberry Chocolate from Zoe’s Chocolate

It looks like the Salted Caramel trend is still going strong.  Zoe Tsoukatos, of Zoe’s Chocolate, also reports that her salted caramel items (Fleur de Sel Caramels) are very popular.  And in the summer, her Black Raspberry Chocolate (white chocolate ganache blended with black raspberries and topped with dark chocolate) was very well received by her customers.  It’s very good.

Zoe notes: “Our philosophy is different from others.  We do not create products to shock and awe, but rather to create flavors that are familiar, yet with a modern twist.

Hooray for truffles – the chocolate kind, of course!

Entrepreneur Profile: Breads Bakery: A Global Bakery in New York

Outside of Breads Bakery

Outside of Breads Bakery

What happens when a master Israeli baker with Danish roots is one of the owners of a Manhattan bakery?  Luckily, you get Breads Bakery — a new purveyor of breads and pastries that helps New Yorkers forget about their diets and pledges to eat healthy.

Uri Scheft, of Breads Bakery

Uri Scheft, of Breads Bakery

Uri Scheft crafts desserts that span a variety of cultures.  There are Babka (sweet yeast cakes) and Rugelach (crescent-shaped cookies made from a cream cheese dough), typically associated with Eastern European and German Jewish baking.  But there are also French-inspired Almond Croissants and Chocolate Croissants.  And in a nod to the petite dessert trend, there are small desserts – Mini White Chocolate Tarts as well as Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts.

Chocolate Babka, from Breads Bakery

Chocolate Babka, from Breads Bakery

I put a few questions to Uri Scheft and these are the questions and his answers:

Since you were used to baking in Israel, what are the unique challenges of running a U.S. bakery?

I had to sample many different flours before I found the perfect one for my breads and pastries.  The water is also different here but the flavors that people love are the same.  We haven’t needed to alter any of our signature items to cater to the American clientele.

What characterizes your pastry baking at Breads Bakery?

I love taking classic pastries and putting my unique twist on them.  An example is altering the flavor of a classic Babka to become seasonal.  I added apple to the Babka for the Jewish New Year. [Note: on the Jewish New Year, apples are often dipped in honey to symbolize the wish for a Happy New Year.]

Which of your dessert items are especially popular?

Our Chocolate Babka has won rave reviews by foodies and customers throughout the City.  He also noted that the Almond Croissant is very popular and he said he’s “extremely humbled by the success we have received on these particular items.”

Bread Bakery's Almond Croissant

Bread Bakery’s Almond Croissant

Are there plans to offer other white chocolate pastries?  I’ve enjoyed your Mini White Chocolate Tarts.

One specific white chocolate item is the Alfajor [sandwich cookies, often associated with South America].  And I’m constantly updating our menu to feature different items.

Mini White Chocolate Tart from Breads Bakery

Mini White Chocolate Tart from Breads Bakery

It’s a good thing I don’t live that close to Breads Bakery — this way I burn off calories walking there and back!