Christmas is just sneaking up on us this year, isn't it? It was all about Thanksgiving coming up, then suddenly all my December plans were here--including some that want to squeeze in but may or may not be able to. So let's hurry and take a look at this year's new grocery store holiday chocolate find. Along with the usuals we've seen before, I saw this green box of Alter Eco Peppermint Creme Truffles. I do see them for sale on their website in regular packaging, which must mean that they are not a seasonal flavor. But it's new to me, so let's indulge in some holiday peppermint.
The holiday element to the little box is light. Besides the green color and a mild floral design, there are just a couple of star shapes. But the green is sufficient, especially on the truffle wrappers themselves. They don't need Christmas trees printed on them to be a welcome addition to a stocking, gift bag, or candy bowl. I like festivity, but I'd rather have a good product that's light on the holiday-specific decorating than a novelty product that is no good to actually eat.
The truffles are the usual round shape with lines cut across the surface. They cut open to reveal a solid white inside. I tasted a little chip of chocolate that broke off to find that there is peppermint oil in the chocolate itself, as well. It's a 58% dark chocolate, so it's definitely on the lighter side. But that's fitting for a candy type product like this, especially when the peppermint oil is going to overpower nuances--and when they're going for the specifically creamy peppermint angle.
Inside, that white creme has that texture that everyone is familiar with who has had Alter Eco truffles. They, of course, have their method of using coconut oil in lieu of cream to give their chocolates a long shelf life for the grocery stores but to also avoid the questionable oils and such that other companies use. Coconut oil yields that silky yet non-plasticy texture (and no coconut flavor). Here, it has more of the peppermint oil and yes, some cream flavor. There is milk listed in the ingredients--so the substitution of coconut oil for creme here isn't to be non-dairy, just for the aforementioned shelf life.
Naturally, the American mind will taste these and think of Andes Mints. But they are noticeably better, in terms of both the chocolate and the filling. And I don't just mean because these are made with higher quality ingredients. Andes Mints are thin, while these chocolates are fat globes that therefore bring more chocolate and peppermint creme to each bite. That proportion difference on its own gives quite an elevation.
Alter Eco has kept it very classic with these chocolates, and that's what makes them a success, whether as a holiday flavor or later on just as as an addition to their standard line of flavors. I do see that they now make Truffle Thins, which bring the style of their truffles to a chocolate bar shape. That looks even more like Andes Mints--and also looks like a brilliant idea that I will try as soon as they show up at my store.
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