The precious Cocoa Beans were used as a currency and as a unit of calculation in the Mayan and Aztec Cultures.
Chocolate truffles are a group of chocolate confectionery, traditionally made with a chocolate ganache centre coated in chocolate or cocoa powder, usually in a spherical, conical or curved shape. Other fillings may replace the ganache: cream, melted chocolate, caramel, nuts, almonds, berries or other assorted sweet fruits, nougat, fudge or toffee, mint, chocolate chips, marshmallow and popularly liquor. Whatever the filling... they're always simply divine!
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One of the most flavourful forms of chocolate candy is the chocolate truffle: gourmet bites of ganache, butter cream, caramel, nuts, candied fruit or anything the confectioner thinks will make a delicious centre when it’s surrounded by chocolate. Its name is an intentional homage to the delectable fungus and both these different kinds of truffles are synonymous with the lifestyles of the rich.
The highest price tag ever recorded for one of these delicious chocolate treats? That would be 152 pounds for a handmade treat featuring ganache made from vanilla pod-infused fresh cream, artisan French chocolate and Italian truffle oil.
According to culinary legend, this chocolate delight was first devised in the 1920 when the great chef Auguste Escoffier accidentally poured hot cream into a bowlful of chocolate. Wonderful story though this may be, it is doubtless apocryphal for French candy makers were selling truffles to the adoring public as early as the mid-1800s and in 1902 one of them founded London’s venerable Prestat Ltd which still uses its original recipe for the candies it sells today.
There are three basic recipes for truffles: the American, the European and the Swiss. Within these three recipes, of course, there are endless variations. The American recipe uses butterfat or sometimes hardened coconut oil in its chocolate coating; the European recipe is made with syrup and dehydrogenised milk and cocoa powders to prolong shelf life, while the Swiss recipe is made with fresh cream and must be kept refrigerated.
The two most popular flavours?? The milk chocolate with the milk chocolate butter cream core and the dark chocolate with the centre of creamy coffee-flavoured ganache.
The strangest flavour? That would be a tie between a truffle with a garlic centre served at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California and the dark chocolate candies dusted with wasabi powder popular in avant garde sushi establishments.