Large, Luscious Gourmet Chocolate Truffles
CAPSULE REPORT: This artisan chocolatier makes delicious chocolate-enrobed truffles in two shapes: classic large round truffles and smaller square truffles, the latter with cocoa butter transfer designs. No matter what the shape, the ingredients are top-quality, and the ganache flavors are inspired. Nicely packaged for gift giving, the company has a popular corporate gifts program. One bite, and you’ll want to get on the gift list.
Some truffles are huge—two inches or more in diameter, an uber-indulgence, more turtle than truffle. Some truffles are teeny: little jewels that are nice to look at, but not enough of a mouthful that one can luxuriate in their flavors. The truffles from Chocolat Céleste are as truffles should be: 1-1/2 inch diameter tastes that are just right. The chocolatier herself refers to them as “grand.” (Celeste, by the way, is not the name of the owner, who is Mary Leonard, but French for heavenly.)
And these truffles are grandly made from fine 65% to 75% cacao chocolate, fresh cream from American’s heartland, and a flavor palette of two dozen favorites—traditional classics like Pear Cognac, Raspberry, and Champagne; “new classics” like Dulce de Leche, Chai, and Hot Chile Pepper; and seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Cranberry. Individually handmade each day, they have no preservatives—which is your excuse to eat them promptly.
Clever “special editions” include Political Chocolate Bonbons (elephant or donkeys), Grand Cru Chocolate Ganache Bonbons made from Felchlin origin couverture (photo at right), Bichon Frisé Bonbons with a smiling dog illustrated on the top of each, a Summer Cocktail Collection (ganaches flavored with Mimosa, Piña Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri and Margarita) and Artisan Bonbons with abstract designs in pink and green.
Ms. Leonard left a senior position with a large information technology company to become a chocolatier, and originally conceived of her truffles as luxury corporate and executive gifts. Fortunately, she opened a retail shop so all consumers can enjoy them. There’s even a Truffle of the Month Club, so you can be sure to enjoy them on a regular basis.
Also noteworthy is Ms. Leonard’s keen interest in chocolate and wine pairings. She regularly holds tastings to introduce chocolate lovers to the added joy of finding the right wine or spirit to match with individual truffle flavors. If you’re in the St. Paul, Minnesota area (or planning a trip there), call to see if you can attend one.
Whether in a celestial pairing of cacao bean and grape, or nibbled from the box one by one, Chocolat Céleste is a required stop on the connoisseurs’ tour of fine truffles.
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