I'll say this about XO Confections: they make a good show at all the local events. If there is an event to do with chocolate even in the slightest, they'll be there. I first saw them at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire a couple of years ago, they were at the Chiles and Chocolate Festival last fall, and earlier this month I caught them at the Art of Chocolate A'Fair in Gilbert (it was mainly a craft and candy/fudge fair, so there wasn't enough material for a separate post just on the event).
XO Confections makes chocolates, some plain, some flavored, and some with caramel. They always put together a sleek booth, with a glass case of chocolates and big displays listing the flavors so that everyone can see it all while waiting in line. Because there is usually a big line, despite the fact that there will inevitably be a stray comment from the crowd about them being pricey (these are just average truffle prices, perfectly reasonable for what you're getting). Pristine and colorful, the chocolates make great gifts or special treats for yourself. I picked out a box of four.
Piedmont Sunrise - "Espresso Dark Chocolate Ganache atop a Hazelnut Praline" - The design here mimics the shape of the sun on the horizon. Initially you taste the espresso and then the hazelnut comes in. I am less used to hazelnut and espresso being together in a chocolate, though maybe for people who are more used to multi-flavored coffee drinks the combination will flow naturally. The hazelnut is good and fresh, the espresso is espresso, and the chocolate adds the sweet element. It's nice.
Oceania - "Cream Caramel with Sea Salt" - A blue chocolate with what I've begun calling the powdered sugar effect on top. And the description here is perfect. A cream caramel? This is exactly that: a free-flowing, creamy caramel. It has a whiter, cloudier color than the usual orange of caramel. The taste also is more of cream, which gives the truffle more of an effect like a milk chocolate confection. I don't taste much salt--which is fine because salted caramel can really be overdone these days. A messy one with all of that caramel, but definitely a fun one.
St. Marron - "Chestnut and Honey Infused Milk Chocolate Ganache" - A slightly sparkly, deep bronze color with dark chocolate spots on this one. The honey taste here comes early on as a strong hit, like a honey stick specifically. I don't know if it tastes different from other honey chocolates I've had because it's a different type of honey, because there is more of it, or because it is added in differently. This tastes sweeter versus rich, stronger and less earthy. Since I never eat chestnut themselves, I can't say that I detect chestnut flavor specifically. Perhaps there is a nutty flavor to the chocolate; maybe this flavor is even what's making the honey taste stronger. Overall, it's a good chocolate. Honey and chocolate do go well together (one of the reasons why I make hot chocolate with honey instead of sugar); it's just all sweeter than I might have expected.
Veracruz - "Kahlua Infused White Chocolate Ganache atop a Crunchy Almond Praline" - Finishing off with the chocolate with the white top with that pattern on it. Once again, great description here. There is a layer of white chocolate to give that touch of sweet white chocolate flavor; underneath that is a layer of praline. The praline gives texture with that little bit of crunch. In addition to the white chocolate and almonds, you also get a bit of chocolate and that coffee Kahlua flavor. Almost this sounds like it would be too many flavors all in one, yet in this case too much feels reckless and fun. Maybe it's just because it's Kahlua. Kahlua is great for creating a feeling of childish adultness. So we have another smiling flavor mix here.
So the Veracruz and Oceania were my personal favorites. Overall a fun way of approaching flavored chocolate with some slightly different angles on familiar flavors.
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