Beer flavored chocolate?  How gross!!

A truffle Homer could love

November 30, 2004

Chocolate-makers have long mixed liqueurs into their creations. Now, a Chicago candy-maker has come up with a twist on the classic pairing—beer-flavored chocolates.

Chocolatier Katrina Markoff infuses her latest truffles with Jamaican Red Stripe beer and tops the dark-chocolate spheres with crushed cocoa nibs.

The truffle is part of the newest lineup of chocolates at Markoff’s North Michigan Avenue shop, Vosges Haut-Chocolat. The beer-chocolate combination is more “approachable,” Markoff says, than some of her other treats, which feature such out-of-the-box pairings with chocolate as Indian curry, Chinese star anise and Italian taleggio cheese. And then there’s the wasabi-ginger truffle.

“You have to cajole someone a little bit to try curry and chocolate,” allows Markoff, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, the famed cooking school.

Don’t expect to get a buzz from the Red Stripe truffle—even though Markoff admits using more beer in the ganache filling than she first expected. There’s just enough beer to make the filling silky smooth, she says.

“Mmm, it’s lovely,” says Mindy Smith, a customer from Minneapolis who stops in whenever she’s in town and also buys Vosges chocolates online, after polishing one off. “It’s very dark. I taste no beer.”

The truffle is part of a mix inspired by Markoff’s first trip to Jamaica two years ago and her love of the late reggae legend Bob Marley. All of the chocolates have ingredients native to Jamaica, including Blue Mountain coffee and hemp-seed nuts, a protein-rich byproduct of the hemp plant.

Unusual flavors enhance “the different elements of chocolate that you might not taste otherwise,” says Susan Fussell, a spokeswoman for the National Confectioners Association, adding that pairing them with chocolate is something that’s come into vogue only in the past three or four years.

The wackier the chocolate, the more likely it is that you’ll have to pay more to get it. Markoff’s Red Stripe and other Jamaican truffles, for instance, sell for $2.25 apiece.

Posted by SPN on 12/02 at 02:10 PM in Blogging

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