One day last week when I returned home from work, I was greeted by a small parcel left on my doorstep. I was anticipating its arrival since my dear friend, Elizabeth Pons, called me one day to tell me how excited she was to have me try something completely new. Upon opening the package I found the most beautiful box tied exquisitely with a silver satin bow. Inside were a dozen chocolates; each held snugly in place so that no damage occurred in route to my door. These special treats came to me all the way from Houston, Texas. Elizabeth, an amazing chef and spiritual goddess, found these very special chocolates while visiting family in Houston.
At first, I noticed the intricate design of each individual chocolate. It was a pleasure to see the careful attention paid to aesthetic design. Visual cues entice our palate. The colors were attractive, appropriate and exciting! The accompanying guide identified each unique piece with a description that made my mouth water. The chocolatiers, originally from Venezuela, have selected single-origin Venezuelan chocolate and only all natural ingredients. Choosing ‘single-origin’ exposes the maker to flavor flaws that can be repaired by blending beans from multiple sources. Cocoa beans, similar to coffee and grapes, are heavily influenced by the region in which they grow. These confectioners have taken a risk that has paid back in some of the most delicious chocolate I have ever tasted. Thank you Araya for introducing me to something completely new!
“Chai Spice – A dark chocolate ganache spiced with an infusion of black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and cloves”. My taste buds tingled in anticipation.
I place the Chai Spice artisanal bonbon on my tongue and let it sit a moment to take in the perfectly smooth surface. As the outside layer of chocolate came to body temperature, it began to melt and gave way to a delicious ganache center . The flavors described in the guide came to life in my mouth, each one announcing itself on my tongue then giving way to the next. The flavors were intense, spicy and satisfying. The mouth feel was silky.
I’ve never been a fan of white chocolate. After all, darker chocolate has all the flavor. Why partake of the fat miss out on flavor? The Cappuccino piece helped me see the light. White chocolate is not the same and should not be compared to its brown cousin. White chocolate is about texture and creating a canvas for other flavors to shine through. This piece did that and more. Easily melting on my tongue, it revealed the most delicious coffee flavored ganache with a touch of cinnamon!
Thank you Elizabeth! Once again you have brought light to my life! Click the Araya Chocolate link for information on purchasing. They will send cooled packages to you anywhere in the US. Tell them Chef Roger sent you!