Day three of our look at Theo's handmade confections brings us to a classic sweet, the Caramel Pecan Turtle. While many confection shops will make these in simple cluster shapes, some will give a rough suggestion of a turtle design. And others use a turtle chocolate mold, as Theo does here. It may be that the taste is what matters most--but the turtle mold seems to me the most pleasing option of the three.
With such a cute chocolate turtle, there is no need for more than simple packaging. The turtle sits in a white box covered in a clear lid to let you look in and see it. A green-edged label with some teeny turtles finishes it all off. Even though you can see the turtle through the lid, I exclaimed anew at its cuteness when seeing it without anything obscuring it. Simple pleasures, simple pleasures. A chocolate turtle is one of these. Its size is of two or three truffles, so it's larger than the chocolate turtle that Zak's Chocolate makes.
I perhaps ought not to have mentioned Zak's, as their turtles are pretty perfect. They took the approach of building the turtle around a whole pecan half. Theo, however, goes with a more typical approach by making a larger turtle filled with the pecans and caramel. The slicing open of the turtle revealed that the bottom layer of chocolate is much thicker than the top and sides. Biting into it, as well, the disproportion is a tad too much; too thick of a layer starts to intrude on the experience of chocolate and filling.
The slight hint at a twist that Theo does is to use salted caramel to house the roasted pecans. Not too unusual, though, given the popularity of salted caramel these days: it's almost getting rare to find a caramel that isn't salted. The caramel is gooey with a classic salted flavor. It took front and center on my first bite, though my second did have more pecan. There I could taste their sweet and woodsy flavor. Hazelnuts may be the ones that blend so well into chocolate, but on their own pecans are my favorite nut, so a good chocolate turtle is welcome indeed.
The turtle's feet have no filling in them, but the caramel does get slightly into its head. So you have a fair amount of opportunity to taste the chocolate, which is a mild semisweet dark chocolate. It's refreshing to have a decent dark chocolate used in a confection.
My nitpicking about the thickness of the bottom layer is really the only criticism to make. A chocolate turtle is a straightforward concept, and Theo approached it as such. It's a tasty sweet that disappeared on me quickly. Life's simple pleasures.
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