Monday, December 1, 2008

Perfect Truffles

I am a huge fan of chocolate.  Deep, dark chocolate.  The 85% bars are my absolute favorite, and I think I've finally decided that for those little squares of chocolate that I like to indulge in at home in the evening, I like Scharffen Berger best, Valrhona is a close second.  Although I probably eat more of the Valrhona since Trader Joe's sells it for $2.99 on a fairly regular basis. 

My point (and I do have one) is that despite my intense adoration for the most perfect cacao, I find that dark chocolate bars are pretty much the only way that I consume chocolate.  I never order the chocolate dessert in a restaurant, because it almost always disappoints.  It either tastes boring or the chocolate is inferior, two conditions which cause me no end of consternation.  I mean please, if you're not going to do it right, can you just serve a chocolate bar on a plate instead?  It would be less cruel.  And truffles?  Do not even get me started on Godiva.  Overly sweet bonbons filled with god knows how many stabilizers.  

But occasionally a truly wonderful truffle comes along, and I have to make an exception to my bars-only rule.  Kee's Chocolates provides such exceptional truffles.

Kee's is a tiny storefront down in Soho, on Thompson just below Spring Street.  It is owned and operated by Kee Ling Tong, a former corporate drone who eventually decided to indulge her creative side (and love of chocolate) by opening this lovely shop.  Thank god she did.  

Each day she makes fresh creations in unusual, exotic flavors.  The stunningly beautiful truffles are dainty in size and composition.  The outside chocolate shell is blissfully thin, and shatters easily to reveal creamy ganache fillings inside.  Although she has more than forty different flavors listed here, I've given you a taste below of the ones I've been seeing lately (a lot of them are seasonal): 

Fennel:  Fennel-phobes, don't worry, the taste is subtle.

Turtles:  Pecans, caramel and dark chocolate, need I say more?  Awesome, and not too sweet.

Thai Chili:  After you get through tasting the ganache, a bit of heat kicks in at the end.  I love it.

Mint Mocha:  Fresh mint and whipped cream...unsurprisingly, these are delicious.

Creme Brulee:  Fantastic, they almost always sell out of these so get there early if you want to try one.

Black Sesame:  One of my favorites, the nuttiness of the sesame seeds lightens up the richness of the chocolate nicely.

Balsamic:  This was the first of her chocolates that I tried, and I will always remember it.

My special treat chocolate shop used to be La Maison du Chocolate up on 78th and Madison (they also have a Rockefeller Center location and apparently just opened one on Wall Street).     They too make wonderfully tiny, dainty, thin-shelled truffles with very high quality chocolate.  It worked out well because I go up there only rarely, so buying one of their truffles really did feel like a special occasion, plush which it kept me from eating too many.

But I'm giving the edge to Kee's these days because I think her flavors are more interesting, and I find the molds she uses for her truffles to be more beautiful.  And she occasionally has to close down for a few days if she's providing the goods for a large event since she does all of the production herself (she recently had to make several thousand truffles for a New York Times event and I had no truffles for three whole days!), so the truffles feel somehow more rare. Unfortunately for my waistline her shop is much more convenient for me than Maison.  Fortunately for my wallet, at $2.35 per truffle, she charges quite a bit less than the Frenchies uptown.


wambalus said...

I'm with you on chocolate - I like it, but not chocolatey things.

I'll see if I can send you some stuff by The Chocolate Tree, a local chocolate maker. They have a Rose Peppercorn dark chocolate that is to die for.

Laura said...

Oooh, that sounds good!

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