Tag Archives: sea salt caramels

Desiderio Chocolates

Artisan, gluten free, organic, local, fair-traded, and vegan chocolates from a great new chocolatier in Grand Rapids, Michigan: Vanessa Metalli Dionne.

Vanessa grew up in Rome, studied Industrial Design, and apprenticed at her parent’s Italian restaurant making desserts and breads. That’s the kind of credibility I find appealing: the interplay between modern with ancient, and discipline with creativity. All of which allows Vanessa to explore every aspect of the chocolate kingdom that piques her interest.

Her sleek looking chocolates, pure little rectangular bars or square caramels presented in the simplest wrappings, beguile you with their unadorned clean lines. Vanessa wants the focus on her delicious treats, not their trappings.

I sampled four small bars from her collection and the Salted Caramels. All are enrobed in a well-balanced dark couverture, and sport two layers: an infused ganache with a topping of gooey caramel. There is no discernible olive oil or coconut milk flavor, though their richness is easily detected.

Whiskey & Smoked Caramel Bar has a marked whiskey taste offset beautifully with textural interest from both the ganache and caramel. Of the four bars, this one has the most pronounced alcohol flavor.

Stout Caramel Ganache is simply divine, as its beery presence mixes with a hint of whiskey. Little bursts of Celtic Grey Sea Salt sprinkled on top provide a perfect gustatory counterpoint to the velvety interior.

Gourmellow :: Vegan Marshmallow Bar has a heaping layer of home made super-fluffy marshmallow on top of that incredibly chocolatey ganache.

Pumpkin Pie Caramel Truffle is a real gem. Redolent of pumpkin, spices, caramel, with a taste that bursts out of its chocolate confines, a truly memorable treat.

Salted Caramels :: Vegan Caramella with Himalayan pink sea salt is a rich dessert in two bites. Fabulous with tea or espresso, they come in a box of six and would make a great stocking stuffer.


Socola Seasonal Truffles

The Socola sisters are at it again, creating more unusual and delicious truffles, like Pumpkin Burnt Caramel, a fantastic little square of pumpkin, spices, brandy, and dark chocolate.

Each truffle’s texture was marvelously silky, and encased in a thin, perfectly tempered dark shell. Small gems of artistry, like these, are to be savored with a soupçon of reverence.

The Jasmine Tea truffle was deftly infused with just the right strength of brew to achieve a perfectly balanced floral ganache.

Their Give It To Me Guava was an exceptional experience of guava pâte de fruit topping a layer of dark ganache. I’ve never craved this tropical fruit, but the Socola sisters’s rendition is divine.

If you love caramel with a slightly burnt edge, Burnt Baby Burnt is a must. The sublimely chewy caramel is accented with a few grains of sea salt that punctuated the truffle like three little exclamation points.

Ca Phe Sua is French chicory coffee, condensed milk, and dark chocolate; a riff on Vietnamese iced coffee. This is a natural for Wendy and Susan who are Vietnamese, and a delicious cube of creamy mocha flavors.

Stout Beer was a favorite, with Guinness ratcheting up every dark note in the chocolate ganache, leaving you deeply satisfied.

There are many other fantastic flavors in the Socola sisters’ repertoire, and they seem to come up with new ones all the time. If you really savor your truffles, head over to their website and swoon over all the choices.