Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vermont Made: Farmhouse Truffles

The simplicity of a truffle is overshadowed by its utter decadence and chocolate divinity. What might simply be a mixture of cream and chocolate truly requires a knowledge in an art that is refined and practiced to create a harmony of flavors that truly tantalize the palette.

Erlé LaBounty, proprietor and lead truffle-maker of Farmhouse Truffles, has mastered such an art over the years and creates many tempting flavors such as lavender, Sicilian hot pepper and nutmeg, coconut lime, and my personal favorite, espresso. Truffles are made in small batches mainly for favors or desert displays at weddings and special events. There is something that is purely romantic about a handmade truffle displayed elegantly on a white platter or tucked lovingly into a box. In addition to celebrations and weddings, Farmhouse Truffles also specializes in distinguished gifts for the holidays, anniversaries, or just because.

A native Vermonter, Erlé grew up surrounded by fine confectioners. From a young age, he would help his mother and her friends as they gathered in the kitchen around the holidays, whipping up batches of chocolatey treats. These confections were wrapped in boxes and tied with a pretty ribbon before being gifted to family and friends. The joy in such a process is what prompted Erlé to follow his passion and learn the true art of chocolate. What started out in his grandfather’s farmhouse kitchen some thirteen years ago has moved to Bristol, Vermont where he currently lives. Though the truffles are no longer made in their namesake kitchen, the memory of such a place remains in the details such as the scale that belonged to his great-grandmother Hazel and is still used by Erlé today to measure out ingredients.

In true form with the art of chocolate, only the finest of ingredients goes into a Farmhouse Truffle. In addition to using local cream, Erlé works with single origin, single bean (the very fine and rare Criollo bean) Venezuelan chocolate for the ganache and dipping. Along with other top quality herbs and spices, it evens out to a very high quality truffle that even the most discriminating of chocolate connoisseurs cannot snub their nose at.

With many accolades and fabulous reviews by such esteemed groups as Vermont Vows, The Boston Globe, and Seven Days Magazine, I find it hard to believe that Farmhouse Truffles are still a best-kept secret in mid-Vermont. Enjoy some images from our recent session and then check out the sweet give away at the bottom of this post! You will not be disappointed.

The quiett town of Bristol, Vermont might be small, but the secrets hid within are worth spending time to seek out.

A particularly sweet secret. :)

Only the finest of ingredients are used, starting with local cream and fine lavender petals.

This scale has measured years of kitchen confections, as it once belonged to Erlé's great-grandmother Hazel.

The Creollo Bean is a very fine, rare cocoa bean originating from Venezuela. The distinctive taste can include flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and nuts. Mmmm

Once the lavender has been infused in the cream, extracting the hint of flavor, it is time to mix in the chocolate, which has been precisely heated to the exact temperature.

The ganache is spread out to cool and firm.

While the ganache cools, the outer dipping chocolate is prepared.

Each truffle is expertly hand rolled to create the appropriate size.

Cocoa powder is used to keep the ganache from becoming too sticky during the process. One neat thing to note is that no additional sugar is added to these truffles. The sweetness comes strictly from the dark chocolate that is used to allow for the additional flavors to come through and meld evenly.

Ah, yes, the man behind the chocolate. :)

Hand dipping each truffle creates a sheer coating of chocolate that will truly shine after it hardens.

Each truffle has a distinct design that tells what flavor is being enjoyed.

Chocolate perfection. Be still my heart!

Aside from being an expert in chocolate, Erlé is also an expert in presentation.

There are many options for favor gift box styles with accompanying ribbons and tags.

Or choose the elegant presentation that Farmhouse Truffles are known for.

Distinctive and delicious. Chocolate perfection at its finest!
Have you tasted such chocolate perfection?

1 comment:

daria bishop said...

kaht, you did a beautiful job of documenting farmhouse truffles! too good of a job actually...i'm wishing for a little taste sample over here!!