Sunday, May 26, 2013

Julia Baker Confections: Chocolate Ganache Cake Truffle

Biltmore Fashion Park is, as you can tell by its name, a more upscale shopping and dining area in Phoenix. After having dinner there last weekend, my group walked around outside the shops to enjoy the cooler weather. I saw a storefront that said something about chocolate and also had two saleswomen outside the door offering samples. Thus I entered Julia Baker Confections, with a free white chocolate raspberry ganache.

The front section is a shop where you can buy individual chocolates out of the glass case or boxed chocolates. In the back is a cafe area with tables for enjoying desserts, hot chocolate, and other drinks--including chocolate martinis. I may have to go back someday to try one. The entire shop is decorated with taste and luxury. I helped choose four of the Chocolate Ganache Cake Truffles, one for each of us. Although we chose from the glass case, it was a little disappointing to see the pretty truffles shoveled into a regular flat paper bag--for a place that poises itself around finery, it would be nicer for even the individual chocolates to have more delicate treatment.

Since the usual price for truffles hovers around $2 or $2.50, the $3 price for this rather large truffle isn't anything beyond the norm. Once I had cut the truffle in half, I discovered why it's called a cake truffle. The top half has a fluffier texture than the bottom, which appears to be a regular ganache. The line between them is nearly seamless because of their almost indistinguishable dark brown color. The outer shell looks more like a dark milk chocolate, speaking for the non-bitter qualities of this truffle.

What it is is more like a rich dessert than a cocoa powder-dipped truffle. You bite into it and think of brownies because of the cakey texture of the voluminous interior. But then you get a sense of the depth involved. I wouldn't call it bitter; it isn't so much like a flourless cake as that. Rather, it's moist. And sometimes that's the type of thing you want, after dinner or maybe in the afternoon. It's small for a dessert, but big for a truffle.

I just wish that, when reading about the company, I found less info about what TV shows Julia Baker has been on and what celebrities have eaten her chocolates and instead found more about what exactly she means by "all-natural chocolate" or where she sources her ingredients. I would imagine that she uses chocolate from another company, perhaps making her own blend of it--but I can't know for sure since her website offers none of this information. But I would like to know if she uses a Valrhona or Callebaut or Michel Cluizel base: that's more important than the celebrity angle to me. I don't want to be told a chocolate company is great; I want to be told why it's great. Otherwise, I feel like I'm just starting on an upgraded version of my Godiva experience--when I liked their chocolate because it was expensive and came in pretty gold boxes.

I also see why this is Julia Baker Confections. Pick up some chocolates for a gift or an afternoon craving, or stop in for a drink and dessert. Casual, culinary luxury--quite nice, but not necessarily centered around the cocoa bean.

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