Friday, August 8, 2014

Not all 'truffle bars' have actual chocolate truffle


Has this ever happened to you?  You buy a chocolate bar that says "chocolate truffle centre" only to discover that it tastes like extreme health food with a grassy flavour, and it has a chewy texture rather than a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth feel like a true truffle.

So why does this happen?  Artisan food makers and health food advocates are always looking for ways to make our 'treats' healthier.  So they try something out at home with alternate 'healthy' ingredients, and they think it is great (for them) and then launch it as a product in the marketplace.  Perhaps other people think it is great too, and they find a niche market for it. I have done the same thing myself with product experimentation.

What drives me crazy though, is when the product is labelled just as it would be for the original 'unhealthy' product. I recently purchased a chocolate bar that made me angry. It was labelled as a 'chocolate bar with a chocolate truffle centre'. However, its taste and texture was nothing like a chocolate truffle. Once I looked at the ingredients list, I saw that there was no actual chocolate in it, just cocoa powder mixed with cocoa butter. True 'chocolate' should have cocoa mass or cocoa liquor in it, as well as the addition of cocoa butter in some cases.

The second ingredient was 'dates', which meant the truffle centre was not a chocolate truffle at all. True chocolate truffle should have cream, butter and chocolate, or in more commercial cases: coconut oil or butter oil and chocolate. I have come across this before with other 'truffle' products made by other manufacturers, and they always just taste like dates and have a chewy texture, not creamy and melty like chocolate truffle should taste.

Don't get me wrong. I am okay with this product being on store shelves. It was at the health food store after all.  But what I am not okay with is the product's labelling.  I paid $6.99 for a very small bar that did not deliver on what the package promised. The front face of the packaging should have specified that it is an 'alternate' to chocolate, made with healthy or vegan ingredients. And the label should have said it had a 'truffle-like' centre made with dates, rather than calling it a chocolate truffle centre.

So the moral of this story is to always read the ingredients, and if it says 'cocoa powder' mixed with some sort of oil or cocoa butter, with no actual cocoa liquor (mass), then be aware that it will not taste just like chocolate.

If you want to learn how chocolate is actually made, check out my recipe for making chocolate at home from the bean.  For a simple but true chocolate truffle recipe, check out my Recipes page or go to this recipe for a basic cream and dark chocolate Truffle with Sea Salt.  If you want it to be vegan, simple change the cream to coconut milk or coconut cream, and please do not add dates!

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