Click here to read my post on the Kakawa Chocolate House shop and drinking chocolate.
Last time I was at Kakawa Chocolate House, I remember that we bought some chili chocolates. This is when chili chocolates were still a new thing to me, so I found it all exciting. But this time I set out to try some of their truffles. After all, if their drinking chocolate is so impressive, their truffles must be, as well, right?
And oh, yes, they are.
Now, I by no means want to be directly comparing the three types of truffles I bought while in Santa Fe: they each have a different style and were good in their own way. But given that I tried the Kakawa truffles last, they were stunningly sophisticated coming after the more casual truffles from the other two places.
When I bought them, the woman helping me asked if I wanted them in a bag or a box. A bag is fine if you're eating them right away, but I got a box since I was planning to bring them home first. The brown box has a blue Kakawa sticker and also keeps the truffles safe in blue tissue. All very nice. Then I went a few days without seeing the truffles, so they took me by surprise when I saw them. After all, I didn't get that close of a look at them through the case in the shop. They're sleek and simple with the right touches of embellishment and they give off a rich chocolate aroma.
French Dark Truffle - "72% Dark Chocolate, Cream, Milk, Butter, 24K Gold" - With a square shape, this one is plain except for a pattern of the Kakawa Chocolate logo. The effect blends rustic and modern styles. The chocolate smells rich and heady, like a brownie made with lots of top notch chocolate. The bite is fairly soft, and the truffle is rich and smooth in both flavor and texture. There is a little hint of bitterness around the edges, so it's good for dark chocolate lovers, perhaps unlike some of the truffles I've been looking at lately. Somehow you get a taste of cocoa powder as you do with the traditional French truffles that are rolled in cocoa powder. There is still some of the sweetness from the ganache, so the chocolate isn't completely devoid of sweetness; however, you do tend to get more of the light bitterness. It's quite the chocolate hit.
Berry Champagne - "72% and 40% Chocolate, Strawberry & Raspberry Puree, Champagne, Butter, Vanilla" - One plain truffle and one flavored truffle for variety. This one is round with just a swipe of gold paint. Once again, this combines the look of old and new and works superbly. When you slice this one open, the ganache inside doesn't look as if it has berries: it looks even in texture and also in its brown color. There is, however, a light berry aroma, and the berry flavor hits instantly on tasting. The strawberry and raspberry are fairly equal in the amount of flavor that they give. I don't know that I necessarily taste the champagne; it could be that the flavor blends in with the raspberries. Of course, you taste the chocolate less in this truffle than in the French. It's still rich, though, coming across a little warmer in flavor and not at all bitter. The ganache is still smooth but thicker. The milk chocolate seems to make this one melt more quickly than the French did, making it vanish rather quickly. The chocolate in here is wonderful, even underneath the berry flavor. The milk chocolate adds in those touches of sweetness along with the berries, and yet it all stays enclosed within the concept of dark chocolate. This makes for a serious effect.
In fact, both of these truffles are for when you're serious about chocolate. If you like sweet chocolate or mediocre chocolate, these aren't for you. "Fun" means something different in this context. I don't mean to be strangely blunt or snobby here, but these are just the facts. These are truffles not candies. There are probably a few people who won't appreciate them. But for the rest of us, oh, they're divinity. The chocolate that they use, the textures that they come up with, and the flavors that they put together are simply perfect.
So don't stop at the drinking chocolate. Also get at least a couple of truffles to eat later or when you get home (of course, you do want to make sure you don't wait too long to eat them since fresh truffles have short shelf lives). They will help you relive the Kakawa Chocolate House experience of casual sophistication.