If chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays. I think you’ll agree with me if I say that a box of chocolate truffles is nature’s way of making up for a whole week. I mean... there’s gotta be something wrong with you if you don’t love these lumpy balls.
Now, the question is: Do you know enough about them?
Truth is, you can’t call yourself a certified truffle fanatic if you don’t know anything else about them aside from the fact that they’re delicious. So, it’s a good thing you’ve decided to come here.
In this article, you’ll get more acquainted with the best chocolate truffles in the world: from the traditional ones, the contemporary counterparts, the award-winning recipes and the ones you can try at home.
Basic Facts About Chocolate Truffles
Where It All Began
There appears to be two popular versions of the history of chocolate truffles:
Some say it was first made in 1920 in the kitchen of Auguste Escoffier who said to have accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolates. A slightly different version of this story claims that it was his assistant who made the mistake and not the chef himself.
The other story goes all the way back in 1895 in the city of Chambéry, France. This version credits Chef Louis Dufour for the timeless discovery of the truffles by doing the exact same thing that Chef Escoffier did. Although, it was never mentioned that he didn’t do it on purpose.
The nexus of both stories is this:
The mixture of cream and chocolates turned into what we now know as ganache. It was shaped into balls and dusted with cocoa powder. The result was looking surprisingly close to the truffle fungus with the cocoa powder as the soil that clings to the mushroom. Thus, the name chocolate truffle was born.
Today, the whole concept of chocolate truffle has evolved to a great extent. What was once a simple dish of rolled ganache has now become one of the most sophisticated sweets.
So, let’s see what’s changed overtime.
French Truffles VS Everyone Else’s Truffles
The French truffles are, of course, the very traditional ones. Dark chocolate made from high-quality cocoa, cream and a few sprinkles of cocoa powder—simple, pure, effortless and yet utterly delicious. This could even be the best dark chocolate truffles recipe you can find.
The downside of the recipe though is that it doesn’t have a longer shelf-life compared to its alternatives. So, they are always made and eaten fresh.
Contemporary chocolate truffles, on the other hand, radiates more creativity and finesse. They can be of almost any shape possible and cocoa powder is no longer the standard coating.
Also, today’s truffles can be infused with different flavors according to one’s personal preference. There are those that contain the rarest ingredients that you would’ve have expected to taste good with chocolate such as green tea and chili.
The Common Misconception
Because people are so fond of adding their personal touches to almost anything, there is now a growing misconception about what really is a truffle.
You should know that not every chocolate-coated candy with a soft center filling is a truffle. The most distinct characteristic of a truffle is that it is always… and I mean ALWAYS... made with a ganache.
In simple terms, you are given the freedom to incorporate as many flavors as you want in your own truffle recipe. But, always keep this in mind:
A truffle’s main component is a ganache.
Everything else that’s not made with it is obviously not a truffle. And just because some candy is called so, doesn’t mean it really is.
The assortment of flavors available in the market can be really tricky. So, as a consumer, how do you distinguish a good chocolate truffle from a mediocre one?
Tips to Finding the Finest Chocolate Truffles
What most people whine about chocolate truffles is that they can be very pricey. But really… who cares about the price tag when you can indulge in a blissful experience with a single bite?
Therefore, the only thing that’s left to do is just to find out which chocolate truffle is worth your every penny.
Check out these simple tips below to help you get started with your truffle-hunting.
The Label Says It All
Checking the wrapper is perhaps the fastest and the easiest way to determine the truffles’ quality. The brief list of ingredients will give you an idea of what to expect in your truffles. So, scan them through.
Chocolate is good on its own. But, when combined with other elements, you can produce an even more delicious treat. The tricky part is choosing which one to mix it with. After all, you wouldn’t want a weird-tasting truffle, would you?
Basically, these add-ons can either make or break the product itself.
The chocolate is the star ingredient. So, whatever is added in the recipe must compliment it and not overpower it.
At the same time, all these other elements should best be made of the highest quality as well. That way, you can be guaranteed of an overall satisfaction.
When you don’t feel convinced with what you see in a product’s packaging, you can always ask someone about it, especially when you are in their actual shop.
Now, you don’t want to sound like a spy from a rival brand, right? So, simple questions like how much cocoa is in the chocolate or whether the chocolate used is an export from a foreign country—these are good examples of what you can ask.
The information you get depends on the questions you ask. So, make sure that you only ask the most relevant questions.
The Best Chocolate for Making Truffles
There is no unanimous verdict yet as to what is considered to be the best chocolate to make truffles since most chefs can always make something scrumptious out of almost anything you give them.
However, chocolates that are made from superior quality cocoa are definitely at the top of the list. Note that the grade of cocoa affects both the texture and the flavor of the product.
Most of the world-renowned truffles are made out of chocolates containing the highest quality of cocoas exported from different parts of the globe. So, that’s something you should look for in your truffle.
Also, the total percentage of cocoa present in the product really does matter. The higher the percentage, the less sweet it will be. So, if you’re up for a healthier and a darker truffle, pick those with a higher cocoa content.
Take It from The Experts
A little research can go a long way. So, take advantage of today’s technology and look for reviews and expert opinions about the best chocolate truffles you can find.
The good thing about reading reviews and recommendations—especially from the experts, is that you can get a closer look at the product itself without having to buy them first.
So, unless you want to go for a taste-test and regret later for buying the wrong product, take it from the professionals first.
However, it all boils down to your personal preference. Based on your own palate, the actual product may or may not taste as good as how others describe them to be. But, it’s always good to have at least a little sneak-peek of what you are about to eat, right?
In the meantime, check out these chocolate truffles below that have successfully made their mark in the world of chocolates and well… of truffles, of course.
The World-Class Chocolate Truffles
There is a famous saying among chocolate-lovers that goes:
“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.”
Whoever came up with that quote is either sleeping during his science class or just simply adores chocolate more than anything else. But, whatever his or her excuse is, the world seems to get the point.
An International Awards dedicated solely for chocolates and everything else that has to do with it is enough proof of that.
Based on the overall results of the International Chocolate Awards—an independent international competition that credits the finest chocolates and products made with chocolates, here are the list of last year’s winning truffles according to the type of chocolate used.
1. Unflavored Dark Chocolate
Dreams of Eva’s 70/70 or the Amazonas Unflavored Dark Ganache and Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier’s Dark Velvet Truffle tied at the top spot in the unflavored dark chocolate ganache or truffles category. Both earned a Gold award.
The 70/70 is said to be made from a high quality cocoa from the Amazon and is sold along with the other award-winning chocolate truffles in the Albores collection.
The Velvet Truffle, on the other hand, uses dark chocolate from São Tomé. The island is one of the well-known exporters of the highest quality cacao beans in the world.
2. Flavored Dark Chocolate
The only chocolatier who earned the Gold award for this category is Es Koyama from Japan. His Black Shichimi Pepper & Chinese Milk Vetch Honey was clearly the top contender.
It is a unique mixture of bitter chocolate, honey and the traditional Kyoto spice kuroshichimi. The honey is meant to highlight the spiciness of the kuroshichimi.
3. Milk Chocolate
United States’ very own Truffle Shots earned the Silver Award for their Tellicherry Cardamom. The brand has probably the most innovative approach to making truffles. The use of a shot glass instead of the usual chocolate shell to coat the ganache in the center is completely an out of the box idea. This is yet another proof of how much innovation is being applied into this dessert.
Once again, an American chocolatier made it to the top. Chocolopolis’ Lemon Lavender Truffles has earned the Gold Award for the category. These delightful truffles are infused with lemon zest and dried lavender flowers which results in a distinct and memorable flavor.
4. Mixed Dark/Milk/White Chocolate
Es Koyama’s world-class creation has, yet again, earned the international recognition for his Matcha & Kinmokusei (Fragrant Olive). Who would have thought that these native Japanese produce will actually go so well with white chocolate?
We all know that Matcha is powdered green tea. So, it is safe to say that this is one example of truffle that actually offers some health benefits aside from simply satisfying our cravings for chocolates.
Apparently, the sky is the limit in making your own version of a chocolate truffle. In fact, you can search for the best chocolate truffles recipe online and end up surprising yourself with a variety of flavors--from the sweetest ones to the most unique flavors you can imagine.
The best thing about chocolate is that it can be very flexible. So, as long as you choose the right kind of ingredient to go with your chosen type of chocolate, you will be just fine. For all you know, you could be making the best chocolate truffle recipe ever.
Perhaps you can try your luck on the internet and search for the best chocolate truffles online. But, then you’ll realize that the list is never-ending. So, here’s a very concise list of recipes from well-renowned chefs to get you started.
The Best Chocolate Truffle Recipes by Top Chefs
As mentioned, you can get creative with your truffles if you want to. But, always be very careful with what you mix in with the basic ingredients. Here are a few recipes from well-known chefs that you can try before making your own signature chocolate truffles.
The first recipe is an easy one. It is by Chef Angela Hartnett, an English chef who first appeared in the first series of Hell’s Kitchen. In this recipe, instead of using just one type of chocolate for the ganache, she preferred to use an assortment of flavors.
So, for those who don’t have a particular preference when it comes to the type of chocolate, this recipe could be the best easy chocolate truffles recipe that you can try at home.
1. Chocolate Truffles by Angela Hartnett
Prep Time: 30 min. to 1 hr.
Cooking Time: 10 to 30 mins.
Level of Difficulty: 1
- 300g or 10 ½ oz. – assorted chocolate bars: dark, milk and raisin and nut chocolate, broken into pieces
- 30g or 1 oz. – unsalted butter
- 250ml or 8 ¾ oz. – double cream
- Pinch of salt
- 100g or 4 oz. chopped mixed nuts: pecan, roasted hazelnuts and almonds
1. Place chocolate and butter in a bowl and set over simmering water. Stir until melted and glossy.
2. Heat cream in separate saucepan until almost boiling.
3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and mix until smooth. Stir in a pinch of salt.
4. Line roasting tray with greaseproof paper and pour in melted chocolate. Set aside, then chill in the fridge until set.
5. Mix chopped nuts and sprinkle onto a baking tray.
6. Roll chocolate mixture into balls. Then roll balls in the chopped nuts until completely coated. Place truffles onto a baking tray and chill until ready to serve.
This second recipe has a little twist to it. Although there is one particular ingredient that is optional, it could actually make the end product taste a little more interesting. So, if you are up for a little pop of flavor, you should try this variation of chocolate truffle. It is by the famous master pastry chef and Mr. Chocolate himself, Chef Jacques Torres.
Note that this recipe may not be for everyone’s liking especially for kids.
2. Chocolate Truffles by Jacques Torres
Prep Time: 25 mins.
Cooking Time: 5 mins.
Level of Difficulty: 1
For the Ganache:
- 21 ounces – bittersweet chocolate
- 18 ounces – heavy cream
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoon) – unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) orange liqueur or raspberry vodka (optional)
For the coating:
- 3 pounds – bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups – Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 ½ cups – shredded coconut, toasted
- 2 cups – nuts, toasted and finely chopped
For the Ganache:
1. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove once bubbles form and add one-fourth of the chocolate; whisk until smooth.
2. Pour mixture to the remaining chocolate for 30 seconds or until chocolate melts. Puree with an immersion blender or whisk until completely smooth.
3. Add liqueur. (optional)
4. Line rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap and pour in the ganache. Fold plastic wrap and press onto the ganache. Set aside for 4 hours or overnight at room temperature.
For the Truffles:
1. Scoop mounds of ganache onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Set aside for 15 minutes in the refrigerator or for 2 hours at room temperature until firm enough to roll.
2. Roll into balls and refrigerate until ready to coat.
For the Coating:
1. Temper chocolate: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set over a saucepan with simmering water. Stir for about 40 minutes or until melted.
2. Pour into a clean bowl; stir to cool to around 88-90 degrees for 40 minutes.
3. Spread out cocoa powder, coconut and nuts on parchment paper. Dip truffle in tempered chocolate and let the excess drip off. Coat with the toppings and place on a rack to dry.
This last recipe is a really unique one. This is a perfect example of how chocolate truffles can sometimes be infused with the most unusual ingredients you can find. This original recipe is credited to the award-winning pastry chef, Gale Gand. She used to be the host of the Food Network’s show Sweet Dreams. Her recipe of chocolate truffles includes Earl-Grey tea leaves. Check it out below.
3. Earl Grey-Spiked Chocolate Truffles by Gale Gand
Prep Time: 1 hr.
Cooking Time: 20 mins.
Level of Difficulty: 3
- 1 ½ cups – crème fraiche or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons – Earl Grey tea leaves
- 12 ounces – best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ pounds – semisweet chocolate
- 1 ½ cups – unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1. Combine crème fraiche and tea in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove once boiled.
2. Place chopped bittersweet chocolate in a medium bowl. Strain hot crème fraiche mixture into bowl and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cover and rest in a cool place overnight.
3. Place mixture in a pastry bag; pipe bite-sized kisses-shapes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Transfer to freezer for 2-3 hours or overnight or until frozen.
4. Melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler.
5. Spread the cocoa powder on a sheet pan.
6. Dip frozen truffles into melted chocolate and set them down in the cocoa. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Our unwavering love for chocolates must be the reason why these truffles have already been engraved in our list of favorite sweets. It’s really not much of a surprise that the recipe has been adopted by different countries.
But, there is still so much to discover about chocolate truffles. The simple recipe has now become sort of an endless possibility for anyone who loves chocolates and wouldn’t mind experimenting on them.
It may have started out as an effortless piece of dessert—an accident even, for some. But, it sure has caught the attention of the world.
Its real history may be uncertain, but the impact it’s brought to the culinary world is incredibly clear.
Anyone can really just start from scratch and incorporate a few elements here and there and voila! A brand-new version of chocolate truffle is born and it could be the next hit before we know it.
I mean… Who knows what these chefs would think of next. Who knows what YOU would think of next.