I am so excited to tell you about these new Non-Dairy Chocolate Truffles called Dear Coco. Our friend and frequent guest blogger, Rachelle Ferneau, recently debuted a line of gourmet and flavorful chocolates that can be shipped all across the country. She started with the Signature Around the World Collection of 12 truffles with global flavors including Tahiti Lime and Kyoto Green Pearl. I had the pleasure of tasting all 12 and was pleasantly surprised at the amazing flavor and obvious high quality. Then every month she introduces two new seasonal truffles to keep us all on our toes. This Month in honor of the High Holidays she will be offering the Jewish New Year collection with Mediterranean Pomegranate and Argentine Honey. We talked with Rachelle to find out more.
When did you decide that you wanted to be in the chocolate business?
I created Dear Coco Chocolate as a natural extension of Eden Cake, the boutique pareve bakery I founded in 2007. Through Eden Cake, I gained valuable experience running a kosher business under hashgacha (kosher certification) and provided pastry full-time to a restaurant, caterers, embassies and other political agencies, as well as a multitude of individual private clients. Working intensively with chocolate was a logical next step for me.
How do you get so much flavor into one tiny chocolate?
At Dear Coco Chocolate, all of our truffles are made fresh with the finest premium ingredients, the most important being premium Belgian dark chocolate. We use in-season fruits and herbs, fine teas and coffee, dried flowers, freshly roasted nuts and spices from around the world to impart the global flavors in our truffles. In addition, the quality of our chocolates is also evidenced by what they do not contain: no white flour, no white sugar, no trans fats, no corn syrup, no preservatives.
As far as the actual flavors, we offer twelve signature flavors in our Around the World Collection, or you can choose a whole box of your favorite of these flavors. In addition, we offer a pair of monthly specialty truffle flavors so there is always something different and new to look forward to.
How do you decide on the flavors of the season?
Many seasons naturally defined for me what their truffle flavors should be, such as July’s Summer Collection featuring Maine Wild Blueberry and Washington Red Raspberry truffles. Berries are in prime season in July, and these flavors reflect the best of the summer bounty as well as showing off the patriotic colors of the American flag in July -- perfect. For other months that didn’t have a defined holiday or season to draw from, I exercised my creative license to showcase the flavors of a particular country of interest. One example of this is March’s Moroccan Collection which features Marrakesh Apricot Anise and Tafraout Almond truffles: Moroccan cuisine is a multi-cultural mélange incorporating a variety of spices, fresh herbs and citrus, dried fruits and almond paste, and these are the flavors I drew from when creating these truffle flavors.
How long does it take to create and test a new flavor?
All of our truffles are inspired by and named for locales around the world, hence the name Dear Coco - reminiscent of a letter written from abroad. When contemplating different combinations of the country’s flavors with chocolate, I am able to taste them in my mind first – I know instinctively what and how pairings will work. Then, after the flavor idea is approved by a select “committee” of grounded individuals who tell me honestly if it sounds good to them or is too unapproachable, I get to work on sourcing the right ingredients and recipe development/refinement in which I physically produce the flavors I had already created in my mind. Depending on the complexity of the flavor, sometimes I am able to get it spot on the first time, and sometimes it takes several revisions and tastings to get just right.
What other flavors can we expect you to come up with?
I have a notebook I use exclusively to jot down new truffle flavor ideas and in time I hope to create new collections. At some point I would even love to recruit new ideas submitted by Dear Coco fans – there’s a lot of creativity out there! In the meantime, as we only began our Truffles of the Month this past July, we are proud to continue introducing two new truffles each month as time progresses, so there are plenty of new flavors still to come.