On the side of the box is written: “How to taste these delicate truffles: place them at an ambient temperature of 19-20°C one hour in advance and savour them in (sic) the height of their aroma and smoothness.” And then a gentle admonition, lest I forget: “They are to be kept in a cool, dry place.”
These are Truffettes de France, and judging from the directions on the box, these aren’t any ordinary confections. Translated as Truffles of France, these rightfully called “food of the gods” are created by Chocmod, a French confectionery company devoted to making exceptional chocolate truffles. Located in the city of Lille, Chocmod was founded in 1948 and specializes in truffles, coated walnuts and other sweets. Naturally, the company’s adherence to quality has succeeded in its making a name for itself far outside of its borders.
Unlike the more common smooth-edged truffles, Truffettes are made in the old European shape, similar to a golf ball whose top was pinched slightly or pressed by an unwitting finger. They are dusted in cocoa powder and are recommended served at the above-mentioned room temperature (naturally), accompanied by one’s best Cognac or coffee (black, please).
So what does a chocolate that comes with precise instructions on how to serve and eat it taste like? Well, scientists say that cacao may contain as many as four hundred different identified aroma chemicals, everything from floral, fruity, earthy, spicy, nutty, and everything in between. Left to itself, the truffle comes to room temperature in no time, especially in Manila’s heat. Each truffle is solid in weight, held firmly between my thumb and index finger, the cocoa powder staining them liberally. With teeth literally sinking into the chocolate nugget, its smoothness is unbroken and unyielding. What is meant to be a sensually complex meditation on chocolate and sugar is turning into a divine revelation ”“ waves of chocolate flavor and memory resounding then receding into an echo with every chew. I taste sugar, I taste fruit, but how do I describe what chocolate tastes like?
Resolutely splendid on the palate, these truffles are periods ”“ full stops ”“ instead of exclamation points in richness and fragrant bouquets. Chocolate tastes like … chocolate: the smoldering heart of an indefinably high quality cacao, the lush creaminess of the chocolate, a sexy but elegant bitterness with balmy undertones of milk, smoke, fruit, and flowers.
It’s this unerring quality product that propelled Jerry Yu, importer of Truffettes de France, to introduce them to his fellow chocolate-loving Filipinos. Having fallen in love with the sweet while on a trip to Canada, Jerry’s wife urged him to bring in the chocolates after countless pasalubongs to friends of the said Truffettes were received with raves and what can only be described as exaltation.
“Most of our Asian neighbors such as Singapore and Hong Kong continue to reinvent themselves by providing more exquisite tasting products to their demanding consumers,” Jerry tells me. “Godiva, Royce, and Leonidas are being sold in these countries [just like in Manila, except for Godiva], but we believe that Truffettes de France chocolates offer high quality, is better tasting, and is comparably more affordable than those other brands.”
Fine chocolate, which melts at about the same temperature as body heat, must be accorded proper care. It’s for this reason that Truffettes de France chocolates are packaged in Gel ice and Insulation bags after purchase. The specially designed wrapper preserves the product for up to four hours in transit. Any longer than that, or if mistakenly forgotten about (shame!), will result in a still gloriously tasting but miserable mess best eaten with a spoon.
Admittedly, I sometimes eat these truffles straight out of the fridge, knowingly cheating myself out of what is meant to be a “food-gasmic” experience. Crouching in front of the fridge with my chin resting on one knee, I’m engaged in my personal ritual of chocolate solemnity. I give in to the scent, the taste ”“ the marvel! ”“ of this chocolate. Biting, chewing, dreaming of more … until I swallow — enormous melting mouthfuls and dreams aplenty. One truffle is all it takes. There is no going back.
Truffettes de France
- First kiosk is targeted to open on the first week of April at the second level of Shangri-la Mall beside the HÃ¤agen Dazs ice cream outlet. Plans are afoot to open up to five kiosk outlets within the year.
- Available in:
Original (P200/P420; 80 grams/250 grams)
Red and Gold (a Prestige Specialty (P340/150 grams)
Orange Truffles with Orange Peel (P420/250 grams)
Cappuccino (P420/250 grams)
Grand Marnier (coming soon)
Sugar Free (P450/200 grams)
Coated Walnuts (coming soon). More variety will be introduced depending on the demand.
Truffettes de France: Fan page
Special thanks to Jerry Yu and Agnes Atienza.