Fall Chocolate: the Spices of the Season
Fall chocolate means spicy chocolate and we all start thinking about the spices of the season. Along with the first gust of cool air comes the feeling that it’s time to get cozy. We want to wrap ourselves up in warmth.
If you’re looking for a little warm-me-up in a fall chocolate, there are plenty of spicy chocolates to choose from, ranging from sweet and mild to hot and fiery. In all our truffles, our goal is to strike the right balance of spice and chocolate, so that one doesn’t outdo the other. It’s not fun to have all heat and lose the chocolate; nor is it interesting to taste only chocolate, when the spice doesn’t show up in the mix of ganache. We have an assortment dedicated to those who enjoy these more complex flavors. Not surprisingly, we call this our Spicy Mix, which includes four different truffles:
Cinnamon Brown Sugar: One of the most comforting spices, the cinnamon is sweet and mild, like the dusting on an apple pie or the topping of your favorite toast as a child (at any age).
Ginger: If you love ginger, you’ll love this truffle. We use both candied ginger and our house-made ginger juice to ensure the spice comes through. And it does, adding just the right amount of a warm tingle in a smooth dark chocolate.
Cherry Chipotle: This heat comes on quickly and stays for only a few seconds, leaving a lovely warmth in the lasting notes of the dark chocolate. The cherry is mild – you might even have to look for it – and adds to the contrast of the spice in its sweetness.
Cayenne: Our spiciest chocolate, the cayenne has a fun time-delay. Count down slowly from ten and only then does the heat kick in. And then it grows. And grows. We are not shy to say we stole the idea, 100%, from the Mexican recipes that put chocolate in their sauces. We reverse it and fire up the chocolate itself.
Other Spicy Superstars
Chai: A very popular chocolate all year around, but especially in the fall, is our seriously spiced chai truffle. It has the warmth and flavor of your favorite mug of chai tea, with hints of cardamom, ginger, black pepper, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise, all wrapped up in a bite of semi-sweet chocolate. As a bonus, it’s made with coconut creme, which makes this truffle dairy free and vegan.
Wasabi Ginger Sake: I call this truffle our most adventurous chocolate. It’s almost savory, but it’s definitely sweet. As with many of our truffles, you’ll experience the flavors in layers. First, you’ll smell and taste the umami, the distinctive indication of the wasabi. You might even think you’re taking a luscious bit of sushi when the ginger arrives, but in a matter of a split second, the sweetness comes in and reveals that you are indeed enjoying something chocolate-y. It’s adventurous, yes, but in the most pleasant way possible.
Pumpkin: Our only seasonal chocolate, this prize-worthy truffle appears in early September and then goes away again by January 1. I’ve written about this famous pumpkin truffle before because the flavor is so much in demand. You can read about it here. The gist of it is that the flavor is just like your favorite pumpkin pie, with all the right pie spices, but better because it’s surrounded by chocolate.
Dark & Stormy: Do you know the cocktail? Well, this is the chocolate version, and it’s got all the same rum and gingery tones you love in the drink with the added benefit of it being a chocolate truffle. Just the name alone makes me want to tuck into a cozy corner with this treasure, but you don’t need to wait for a dark and stormy night. They are also good, stormy or not, any time of year.
Aztec Hot Chocolate: The coziest combination of all is mingling the warmth of hot chocolate with the spiciness of the Mexican flavors. In our Aztec hot chocolate, we use a hint of cayenne, cinnamon, and a third, well-kept-secret spice that only a few people with perceptive palettes can identify. Wil you be one who knows that secret ingredient? Let us know if you do.
Spicy chocolates pair well with so many wonderful things, and it’s always fun to experiment with your favorite savory or sweet ideas.
- Cheese is a nice counterbalance to the spicy sweet. You can try something mild like Gouda or add some sharpness with cheddar. I can’t resist the stronger cheeses, like a blue or a Roquefort. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices.
- Wine and spicy chocolates work well too. I’d choose a dry red wine, the drier the better to offset the sweetness of the chocolate. One thing to be aware of is “clashing” with different kinds of sweets, so I’d save the sweet wine for the savory menu. A dark, rich Malbec with a bite of a cayenne truffle is about as satisfying as any combination I know. Or try a Maine wine. The folks at Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery have a great selection and they know our chocolate. You can ask them for their pairing suggestions!
- Beer and spicy chocolate pair surprisingly well. For my tastes, any hue of beer works well, from the pale ales to the ambers to the dark stouts. The bitterness of the beer enhances and brings out the bitterness in the chocolate and both together have a sweet result. There are many breweries in Maine to choose from. Check them out here.
As the weather cools and the days grow shorter, we turn our attention to pleasures of warmth and comfort. Chocolate, with its many flavors and spices, is a welcome addition to the colorful leaves and cool air. On your own or with others, the spices of the season can enhance the sweetness of both the chill outside and the coziness we find all around us. Fall and chocolate. They go well together.